Infographics represent a potential means of improving public knowledge about cancer. However, there is little experimental evidence of their efficacy. This preliminary study investigates whether infographics are superior to text for the communication of information about cancer risk in old age via a three armed randomized controlled trial. Trial involved allocation concealment and block randomization of 30 male participants aged over 50 to receive text information (control) or one of two infographics (interventions). Participants who viewed an infographic were more likely to know the correct association between cancer risk and old age compared with those viewing text information (risk ratio = 3.0, 95% confidence interval 0.82-10.90). Participants had limited understanding of the phrases "cancer incidence" and "cancer prevalence" but good understanding of the phrases "cancer risk factor" and "cancer stage." Possession of good numerical skills appears to be a key determinant of ability to extract meaning from statistical information provided; regardless of format. Initial results suggest icon array infographics may be more effective communication mediums than text but further study with more participants and an updated infographic is necessary to confirm this finding.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN33951209.