The “Let’s Talk About Cancer” pop-up shop project was a pilot project with the aim of exploring the viability and use of the pop-up shop model for communicating cancer messages. The project was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and run by a partnership of organisations: North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN – lead organisation), Cancer Council Victoria (CCV), Western Health, and Improving and Promoting Community Health (IPC Health).
Although cancer outcomes in Victoria are improving, with the all-cancer five year survival rate reaching 69% in 2016, cancer remains the leading cause of death in Victoria.
Research suggests that a combination of public education about symptoms and empowerment to seek medical advice, as well as support at the primary care level, could enhance early presentation and improve cancer outcomes.
The key objectives of the shop were to:
- Provide information on cancer risk factors, screening, and prevention from cancer nurses in a relaxed environment
- promote health seeking behaviours
- Increase the uptake of cancer screening programs
- Refer on to local services where possible
Cancer pop-up shop model
A “pop-up shop” is a short-term shop supported by advertising or other promotion. The pop-up shop model allows for an open-ended range of cancer conversations among a diverse population in a non-medical environment such as a shopping centre.
The Melbourne cancer pop-up shop was based on a United Kingdom cancer initiative, “Get to know cancer”, trialled in London in 2012 and 2013. The UK pop-up shops aimed to promote the importance of early diagnosis by raising awareness that survival rates are improved when cancer is diagnosed early.
The Melbourne “Let’s Talk About Cancer” pop-up shops were staffed by cancer nurses from Western Health and Cancer Council Victoria, and community nurses from IPC Health twice-weekly. The nurse role was to provide information and support about cancer, cancer treatments and cancer services, and refer participants to services as necessary. It did not involve any provision of medical advice or diagnosis. The nurses were supported by a large team of volunteers from Western Health, who chatted with the public and welcomed them to the shop.
Two shop locations were chosen in Melbourne’s West, with a focus on locations with high levels of relative deprivation and significant CALD communities. The shops were operated in Sunshine, during the month of February, and Caroline Springs, during the month of June. There was a strong local media and Facebook campaign, with over 70,000 views of the Let’s Talk About Cancer Facebook page.
A video of the shop and its operation.