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  • 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2018
  • Project No: 395
  • Funding round: FR 15

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are the leading causes of death in the UK. Smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity and weight account for 40% of cancer cases and up to 80% of CVD deaths Identifying ways to support people to make and sustain healthy choices is a priority. One such approach is NHS Health Checks in which information about risk of CVD, and how it could be reduced, is provided to individuals aged 40 to 74 years in consultations in the community. Although there is uncertainty about the cost-effectiveness of Health Checks, they are associated with reductions in CVD risk factors. The addition of information about cancer risk to these consultations may be beneficial as many of the lifestyle risk factors are shared which creates an opportunity to discuss with patients the impact lifestyle changes can make on their future risk of both diseases. However, there has been little research on how the communication of information about risk contributes to patients’ decision-making about lifestyle changes and consideration of medication.  We know that about a third of patients offered medication to reduce their chance of developing CVD choose to start it and that doctors and nurses vary in the way they talk about risk of disease. However, we do not know if the way risk is discussed affects patients’ decisions.  

 We aim to describe and explore the language and communication techniques used by healthcare professionals in primary care when sharing information about risk of CVD and cancer and how this affects patients’ decisions concerning lifestyle change and use of medication.   We will video record conversations about risk. Patients will complete questionnaires before the consultation, immediately afterwards and 3-months later on their intention to make behaviour changes, acceptance of medication and understanding of their risk.

Amount awarded: £ 15,971.47