Head of Public Health and Wellbeing, Breast Cancer Now
It is vital that we identify and dismantle the barriers to early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer amongst ethnic minority groups.
In the UK, around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year – it’s the most common cancer amongst women, with one woman diagnosed every 10 minutes.
Tackling the taboo of breast cancer
Breast cancer incidence is lower among women from ethnically minority groups, but when they are diagnosed, their outcomes are poorer than for white women with breast cancer. Breast health is a ‘taboo’ topic among some ethnic minority communities. Myths and misconceptions can become barriers to women knowing the signs of symptoms of breast cancer and how to check their breasts.
Fear and fatalism can also delay, or worse, prevent these women from visiting a GP even if they spot potential symptoms of breast cancer. As a result, they’re likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, making it more difficult to treat.
Women must report any new or unusual breast changes to their GP – this is key as the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful.
Early detection is crucial
Women from ethnic minority groups are also less likely to attend breast screening than white women in the UK – further cause for concern as early detection is critical to preventing women dying from breast cancer.
We’re committed to improving access, support and care for anyone affected by breast cancer and the public health talks we deliver in workplaces and community groups across the UK enable us to do this.
Empowering women to spot symptoms
We tackle taboos, bust myths and raise awareness of breast health and the NHS breast screening programme, as we know this is essential to empowering women to recognise the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Women must report any new or unusual breast changes to their GP – this is key as the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful.
Our breast awareness information is available in multiple languages such as Arabic, Cantonese, Hindi, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu.
We’ve recently commissioned research to identify barriers and challenges that currently limit levels of breast health awareness among ethnically diverse groups. The findings will provide valuable insights for our future work in addressing health disparities, as we strive towards achieving our ambition that by 2050, anyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live and be supported to live well.
Breast Cancer Now Public Health Talk