Health 4 Her Trial
Preventing harm from alcohol among women attending breast screening services.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australia (after non-melanoma skin cancer). An estimated 20,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, hence there is an urgent need to develop population-based prevention strategies. Some aspects of lifestyle, including physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol use, are major modifiable risk factors for breast cancer in women. Research suggests alcohol is a contributory factor, even in low amounts, with evidence of a clear dose-response relationship emerging, but awareness of the link between alcohol and breast cancer remains surprisingly low.
In Australia, 1.8+ million women aged 50-74 years participate in breast screening annually and they constitute a population who are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol and drinking at risky levels. This project aims to develop and test an opportunistic alcohol health promotion brief intervention (proportionate to level of risky-drinking) as women a national breast screening program. This presents a unique opportunity to educate and empower women to make informed choices to improve their health outcomes.
Phase 1: Examining alcohol consumption and opportunities for a brief alcohol health promotion intervention among women who have attended breast screening services.
This work examines women’s views in relation to breast cancer risk, alcohol consumption and other lifestyle factors to inform the development of a tailored health promotion intervention that is acceptable to women attending breast screening services.
We are working with the Lifepool community, a cohort of 54,000+ women from across Australia who have had, or intend to have, a screening mammogram, in order to:
- Understand their alcohol consumption levels and association with breast cancer incidence
- Assess knowledge of breast cancer risk factors, alcohol-health literacy, and acceptability of alcohol health promotion offered in the breast screen setting
- Co-design the intervention to be implemented in the breast screen setting, and provide feedback on related study procedures.
Phase 2: Implementation of alcohol health promotion in the breast screen setting
The strong evidence-base for alcohol brief intervention (i.e. normative feedback and information about alcohol risks/harms), as well as applied behaviour change methods, informed the intervention content proposed in Phase 1.
In Phase 2, we aim to conduct a randomised controlled trial to test the effects of alcohol brief intervention delivered at a breast screening program, evaluating program factors that predict and facilitate uptake in practice. Expected outcomes are reduced alcohol consumption, improved alcohol literacy, mental well-being and general health.
Turning Point team
Dr Darren Lockie (Maroondah BreastScreen), Associate Professor Liam Smith (BehaviourWorks), Associate Professor Peter Bragge (BehaviourWorks), Ms Michelle Clemson (Maroondah BreastScreen), and Professor Robin Bell (Monash University).