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Cancer awareness week for ethnic minorities

MONDAY MARKS the start of Ethnic Minorities Cancer Awareness Week, developed by an alliance of charities including Cancer Equality, Prostate Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Care, to raise awareness of cancer in Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and to signpost to services for people with cancer.

As part of Ethnic Minorities Cancer Awareness Week (EMCAW), this year the charities involved are encouraging community and other grass roots organisations across the UK to hold their own events spreading the cancer awareness message to local BME groups.

There are now around 40 UK groups signed up to run local cancer awareness events, funded by Cancer Equality on behalf of EMCAW with grants of up to £250 each. These events include talks, information stands and discussion groups.

Some of the events in London include a cancer awareness day at the EKTA Project Action for Asian Elders and Carers group in Forest Gate, and a men’s health and wellbeing roadshow for African and Caribbean men in Bow.

Breast Cancer Care’s UK Breast Health Promotion Manager Davinia Green said:

“Early detection can lead to a better outcome for patients, so we really need to make sure everyone has equal access to information about being breast aware.

“Our own research has shown levels of awareness about breast cancer and breast health is lower in BME groups, so EMCAW is a really important time for us in making sure we manage to get our message across to everyone.”

One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives so it is an important issue for everyone.

However, awareness of cancer and uptake of some cancer services is lower among ethnic minorities, and some ethnic minorities tend to be diagnosed when the disease is more advanced, which can lead to poorer survival rates.

Research indicates that some cancers are more common among particular communities and groups. For example:
• African-Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to white men.
• Mouth cancer is more common among South Asian communities
• Liver cancer is more common among Bangladeshi and Chinese communities

Cancer affects all communities and everyone should be aware of it say organisers. By supporting and taking part in EMCAW you will be working towards raising awareness of the disease among your own community and empowering individuals to take up the services available to them.

EMCAW will run from 11 – 17 July this year.

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