Elusive risks: Engaging with hard-to-reach and non-interested publics in the community

Principal Investigator: Dr Maryon McDonald, Department of Social Anthropology, Cambridge
Co- Investigator: Dr Ignacia Arteaga, Department of Social Anthropology, Cambridge
Research Associate: Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson, Department of Social Anthropology, Cambridge

Funded by: Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme Pump Priming Awards 2019

The promise of early cancer detection is underpinned by three key ideas: cancer is more treatable if diagnosed early; technologies can determine cancer risk in the population; and people are interested in engaging with practices of cancer detection. However, the current picture of cancer prevention suggests that over a third of the eligible population in England do not engage in cancer risk detection measures such as population screening programmes.

Colleagues in health research have shown some of the factors influencing the lack of participation in early cancer detection through screening programmes. However, uncertainty remains due to the challenge of reaching people who do not engage with health services as they often seem reluctant to participate in research that explores the reasons behind their non-engagement.

This project seeks to lay the ground for a better understanding of why some people seem not to want to tackle the potentiality of cancer in their lives. This will be done through a series of public engagement activities in the community.

Published commentary: Covid-19 test and trace: Look for the super-locals to access “hard to reach” groups. BMJ, September 2020.