As Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close for another year, the need for breast cancer education remains as strong as ever. Despite all the campaigning that goes on and the thousands of pink products which are sold every October, breast cancer education remains an ongoing task.
And, although resources are readily available, there are still communities of women who we endeavour to educate and encourage to attend free screenings, but who we have genuine difficulty reaching.
Many Asian communities view breast cancer as a taboo and screening attendance is much lower than the national average in areas with large groups of ethnic minorities. In 2012/13, under 67 per cent of women in Greater Manchester (which has a large Asian population) attended their breast screening appointments – compared to a national average of 73 per cent.
Reasons for disparity in screening uptake include:
• A cultural taboo which exists with regards to breast checking and cancer diagnosis
• Literature in South Asian languages is not always readily accessible
• Hospitals and GPs may not have records of their patients’ first language, so many women do not understand the letters they receive.
At Genesis we’re working hard to bridge this culture gap. We are proud to be the home of the Asian Breast Cancer Support Group, which launched at the Nightingale and Genesis Prevention Centre in October 2011 under the direction of Professor Anil Jain. Its aim is to raise greater breast cancer awareness in Asian communities throughout the UK; a cause which is of vital importance.
The group’s bi-annual meeting was held earlier this month and was another success for Genesis. Two years on from launching, the group has provided a platform for Asian women to share and talk about their breast cancer experiences as well as opportunities for these women to speak directly to medical professionals. Congratulations Professor Jain on the group’s success – long may it continue.
The Genesis team