Research Article

BACUP--the first two years: evaluation of a national cancer information service.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 10 September 1988) Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:669
  1. M. L. Slevin,
  2. Y. Terry,
  3. N. Hallett,
  4. S. Jefferies,
  5. S. Launder,
  6. R. Plant,
  7. H. Wax,
  8. T. McElwain
  1. Bacup, London.


    The cancer information service of the British Association of Cancer United Patients (BACUP) was launched in October 1985 as a national service to patients and their relatives, the public, and health professionals. Information is provided by telephone and letter by seven nurses trained in oncology. In the first two years over 30,000 inquiries were received: 23,527 (80%) were from women; 9445 (32%) were from cancer patients 11,574 (39%) from relatives of patients, and 2869 (10%) from health professionals. Inquiries came from all over the United Kingdom and from all sections of society but users were predominantly middle class, aged between 30 and 49, and living in south east England. Information about specific cancer sites, treatment, and how to cope was most commonly sought. Nearly a third of all inquiries were related to breast cancer. Though the service is used more by particular groups focusing on particular diseases, clearly there is a need for a cancer information service in the UK.