Online course

Talking About Cancer: Reducing Risk, Early Detection and Mythbusting

1 in 2 people will develop cancer in their lifetime. At Cancer Research UK we want to get people talking about cancer and health.

Talking About Cancer: Reducing Risk, Early Detection and Mythbusting

Gain the tips, tools and confidence to have conversations that could save lives

Talking about cancer can be tough. You might be worried that you’ll say the wrong thing or that you simply don’t know enough about the subject.

This course draws on the knowledge of Cancer Research UK experts. Learning is through quizzes, articles, discussions and videos demonstrating conversational dos and don’ts.

Over the course of 3 weeks you’ll find out how to encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes, access local services or visit their doctor promptly if they notice changes to their body. The skills you gain may also be useful in talking to people already affected by cancer.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Key facts and health messages about cancer prevention, screening and early diagnosis, and how to explain them.
  • Confidence for having conversations about cancer that help others take positive action.
  • Identification of barriers to making lifestyle changes or seeing a doctor.
  • Communication methods that overcome barriers and avoid building defensiveness and fear.
  • Methods of questioning that help people make decisions for themselves.
  • Identifying how our own feelings can affect conversations.
  • Directing people to the right places for advice and support.
  • Creating an action plan for talking about cancer.

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
    This course started 26 November 2018

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Summarise simple, reliable facts about cancer, prevention, early diagnosis and screening
  • Engage those around you in effective conversations about cancer
  • Identify appropriate sources of support and information, and signpost people to them
  • Assess the barriers that can prevent people from changing their lifestyle or visiting the doctor, and engage them in a way that encourages them to take action
  • Develop a plan of action for talking about cancer

Who is the course for?

The course is particularly relevant for those working or volunteering in the following areas: advocacy, care and support work, community health centres and services, dentistry, GP surgeries, mental health, nursing, occupational therapy, oncology, osteopathy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, public health, radiotherapy, sexual health, social work, or any other healthcare.

However, it is suitable for anyone with an interest in the topic, and may help with both personal and professional conversations about cancer and health.

The course does not require any previous experience of this subject.

What do people say about this course?

It was relayed well with thought-provoking videos and gave sound advice on overcoming barriers to communication…very useful course giving me a chance to reflect on my role within the workplace

Clinical services manager, pharmacy

The course has surpassed my expectations not only for the valuable information related to cancer and awareness, also to the transferable ideas and tools provided…I feel much more confident in talking about cancer with others

Allied health assistant, occupational therapy

Who will you learn with?

Gillian Kilgour

Gill has been a nurse for 30 years, with a variety of experience in the cancer field. Gill joined Cancer Research UK in 2009, and is now one of the Lead Cancer Awareness Trainers at the charity.

Gwen Kaplan

Gwen trained as a nurse, working in a variety of settings with cancer patients before joining Cancer Research UK in 1998 on the Nurse Helpline. Gwen works as a Lead Cancer Awareness Trainer.

Who developed the course?

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.

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Join this course


  • Access to this course for 5 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes


  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime