A randomised controlled trial of the effect of providing online risk information and lifestyle advice for the most common preventable cancers.
Preventive medicine 2019 ; 138: 106154.
PubMed ID : 32473959
PMCID : PMC7378571
Few trial data are available concerning the impact of personalised cancer risk information on behaviour. This study assessed the short-term effects of providing personalised cancer risk information on cancer risk beliefs and self-reported behaviour. We randomised 1018 participants, recruited through the online platform Prolific, to either a control group receiving cancer-specific lifestyle advice or one of three intervention groups receiving their computed 10-year risk of developing one of the five most common preventable cancers either as a bar chart, a pictograph or a qualitative scale alongside the same lifestyle advice. The primary outcome was change from baseline in computed risk relative to an individual with a recommended lifestyle (RRI) at three months. Secondary outcomes included: health-related behaviours, risk perception, anxiety, worry, intention to change behaviour, and a newly defined concept, risk conviction. After three months there were no between-group differences in change in RRI (p = 0.71). At immediate follow-up, accuracy of absolute risk perception (p < 0.001), absolute and comparative risk conviction (p < 0.001) and intention to increase fruit and vegetables (p = 0.026) and decrease processed meat (p = 0.033) were higher in all intervention groups relative to the control group. The increases in accuracy and conviction were only seen in individuals with high numeracy and low baseline conviction, respectively. These findings suggest that personalised cancer risk information alongside lifestyle advice can increase short-term risk accuracy and conviction without increasing worry or anxiety but has little impact on health-related behaviour. Trial registration: ISRCTN17450583. Registered 30 January 2018.