Effective interventions targeting cancer risk behaviours are underutilised by smokers, and individuals who are overweight or obese or drink alcohol excessively. Proactive telephone recruitment has been shown to increase the use of telephone interventions for smoking cessation and weight management respectively. However, cancer risk behaviours often co-occur and there is a need to explore the extent to which at-risk individuals will accept proactively offered interventions for single and multiple cancer risk behaviours.
This study examined whether smokers, individuals who were overweight or obese or drank alcohol at risky levels would accept proactively offered assistance for cancer risk behaviours and the types of interventions they would be willing to use.
Smokers and ex-smokers were sent an information letter and an interviewer telephoned and invited them to complete a cross-sectional computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI). The CATI examined if individuals with cancer risk behaviours would accept a proactive telephone offer of assistance for these behaviours and the types of interventions they would be likely to use.
Of 321 respondents, 199 (62%) were current smokers, 206 (67%) were overweight or obese and 115 (36%) drank alcohol at risky levels. Of those with one or more cancer risk behaviours (n=288), 59% were willing to accept proactively offered assistance for at least one behaviour. The intervention most likely to be used for smoking, weight management and alcohol intake was seeing a general practitioner (>66%). The majority of those willing to accept assistance for multiple cancer risks preferred to receive support for these behaviours at the same time.
Current and ex-smokers appear willing to accept proactively offered assistance for at least one cancer risk behaviour, particularly under the guidance of a general practitioner. Proactive telephone recruitment has the potential to increase the use of effective interventions targeting cancer risk behaviours.