Disease awareness campaigns aim to influence public perceptions and knowledge of specific diseases and may have a range of beneficial effects including destigmatizing certain diseases and promoting positive health behaviors. However, if the campaigns give an unbalanced or non-evidence based message about benefits versus harms of tests, diagnostic processes and treatments, they may lead to unnecessary diagnosis and treatment (i.e. overdiagnosis and/or overtreatment). While these campaigns should be designed to maximise benefit and minimise harm to the public, there is currently a lack of preclearance or any specific regulations governing the messaging of these campaigns. We are working on a series of projects to evaluate the current messaging of campaigns observed by the WHO, Cochrane and the US government, as well as to develop reporting guidance to ensure high quality and balanced messaging in such campaigns.
This work is done together with Professor Steven Woloshin, Professor Karsten Juhl Jørgensen, and Dr Loai Albarqouni.
More information is coming soon!