Catching it early
Photo of a female cancer patient sitting in a doctor's surgery and speaking with a Cancer Research UK nurse.

March 8, 2013


Cancer Research UK is the world's largest independent cancer research charity. It conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease and its vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

The challenge

Diagnosing cancer earlier is one of Cancer Research UK’s key priorities. Through this campaign, the team wanted to reduce fear and fatalism of cancer by highlighting the improvements in survival rates and encourage people (particularly those over 50) to visit their GP if they notice any persistent or unusual health changes because treatment for cancer is often simpler and more likely to be effective when caught early.

The strategy

  • The campaign was launched with a YouGov survey (2k adults) showing the reasons that people might be put off visiting their GP which was sold into national press to secure media coverage raising awareness of the importance of early diagnosis. In addition, the PR team pitched case studies, stats, nurses and information around early diagnosis to national newspapers and women’s weekly magazines to secure wider feature coverage.

The results

  • Overall, over 4,143,137 adults in the UK were exposed to this campaign raising awareness of early diagnosis through 45 pieces of press coverage generated
  • Highlights included Daily Express, Metro, Independent online, ITV News online, MSN, Yahoo UK
  • The team's main key message encouraging people to visit the GP if they notice any unusual or persistent changes to their body was included in 76% of pieces
  • CRUK's Spot Cancer Early website was included in 22% of articles

Melissa was Senior PR Officer at Cancer Research UK from 2012 to 2014.

Cancer Research UK round logo

“Melissa is a talented PR professional. Creative and tenacious, she achieves brilliant results and delivers to a consistently high standard. She is passionate about her work and a pleasure to work with.”

Nicola Dodd
Former head of PR & social media, Cancer Research UK

Case studies

Read about the campaigns Melissa has worked on to help for-purpose organisations meet their PR & communications goals.

Read more case studies...

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