The implementation of effective interventional cancer education programs in schools could help to reduce delays in diagnosis and improve cancer survival by increasing awareness of risk factors and symptoms among students. The aim of this review was to determine the effectiveness of interventional cancer education programs delivered to school students aged 8–19 years. Various databases were searched to identify controlled and uncontrolled studies published in English language articles between January 2000 and January 2020. Selected publications were then critically appraised using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Systematic Reviews. A total of 12 studies meeting these criteria were identified. Of these, eight were randomized, and five included control groups. All of the studies conducted the intervention over the course of 1, 3, or 4 days, and there was no follow-up phase in seven studies. Various modes and materials were used in the delivery of the interventions, including children’s books and booklets, expert talks or presentations, videos, discussions, role-playing exercises, hands-on activities, group work, quizzes, and homework. There was some evidence to indicate that the interventions enhanced short-term knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions; however, there was less evidence regarding their long-term effectiveness, particularly in terms of help-seeking barriers. Interventional education programs are important to increase knowledge of cancer among school students aged 8–19 years. Decision-makers should consider including relevant topics within the educational curricula. Both healthcare providers and non-educational organizations should work together to support effective cancer interventional education programs for school students as part of their long-term cancer prevention efforts.
- Cancer knowledge
- School students
- Systematic review
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health