Psychological consequences of cancer screening and investigative processes

This body of research work investigates the psychological sequalae associated with cancer screening and investigative processes. This research started looking at the cervical screening process and unnecessary anxiety that was inherent within the programme, where often those at least risk attended for cervical screening most often. This prompted the design of a risk communication tool to be used in General Practice that portrayed accurate knowledge and better understanding of risk, leading to more appropriate cervical screening attendance. This has led to research in other areas where investigative procedures promote high anxiety which may be alleviated through timely interventions. Recent work has looked at women with post-menopausal bleeding (a risk factor for endometrial cancer), barriers to breast screening attendance and an evaluation of the’ Be Clear’ on Breast Cancer campaign aimed at women over 70 and designed to promote early attendance to General Practice with breast cancer symptoms.


Project Staff

Dr Alison Gale, Royal Preston Hospital

Dr Pierre Martin-Hirsch, Royal Preston Hospital

Kavitha Kanesalingham, Royal Preston Hospital

Louise Holmes, University of Liverpool

Dr Steve Brown, University of Liverpool

Triecia Gibney, Monash University, Australia


Collaborators and Partners

BreastScreen Victoria, Australia

Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network

Royal Preston Hospital


On-going research, current project due to report March 2013


Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network: £11,000 (2012-2013)

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: £2,425 (2007-2008)

Emma Jane Demery Bequest fund: £4,977 (2001-2002)

North Wales Research Committee: £4,944 (2001-2002)

Welsh Office of Research and Development: £100,000 (2000-2005)

MRC: £30,000 (2000-2005)

Public Outputs

Tarling, R; Gale, A; Martin-Hirsch, P; Holmes, L; Kanesalingham, K & Dey, Pl (2012) Experiences of women referred for urgent assessment of postmenopausal bleeding (PMB). Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (in press)

Brown, SL; Gibney, T & Tarling R (2013) Busy Lifestyles and Mammography Screening: Time Pressure and Women’s Re-Attendance Likelihood. Psychology and Health (in press).

Holloway (now Tarling) R; Wilkinson, C; Peters T; Russell, I; Cohen, D; Hale, J (2003) Cluster Randomised Trial of Risk Communication to Enhance Informed Uptake of Cervical Screening. British Journal of General Practice, 53:620-625.