Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Benchmark Public Relations was contracted by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency to lead focus group sessions in the Sunrise Health Region to understand why women in the area were not receiving regular pap tests. Two focus groups were held to help identify effective ways to convince women to be screened and effective ways to engage care providers to offer drop-in Pap test clinics on a regular (cyclical) basis. The objectives of the focus groups were:
- To determine the best messages that would motivate women to seek PAP tests during National Cervical Cancer Week.
- To determine the most appropriate communications vehicles to reach women on healthcare issues.
We identified 21 key findings from these focus groups including a review of barriers that prevented women from receiving tests; factors that encouraged them to seek testing; and a discussion on the reasons why there is a lack of information in this area. The information gathered during the sessions was used to develop a promotional campaign encouraging women to schedule regular pap tests. The material was also used to try to reduce the barriers that are preventing women in Saskatchewan from participating in the cervical cancer prevention program.
Based upon our success in this area, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency subsequently contracted Benchmark to conduct research on prostate cancer. This was a much more difficult project since there are many more variables involved in prostate cancer than cervical cancer. We approached this project with the following objectives:
- Review current patient management methods
- Evaluate ways to engage patients in the decision-making process
- Review current screening and diagnosis guidelines
- And determine the most effective communications methods for educating men on prostate cancer and screening and treatment guidelines.
We held focus groups with men from the general public, general practitioners, and prostate cancer specialists. Rather than holding focus groups with prostate cancer patients, who may have been reluctant to discuss their experiences in a group setting, we held personal interviews with 10 cancer patients. Our research led to more than 50 key findings and action items for the agency to pursue.