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Breast health 2021

Why are there fewer women of colour surviving breast cancer?

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Ponomariova_Maria

Toral Shah

Nutritional Scientist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Food & Health writer and Founder of The Urban Kitchen

Whilst breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, women of colour have disproportionately poorer outcomes.


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers and affects one in seven women in their lifetimes. Breast cancer screening and awareness education, along with better treatment, means that 76% of women diagnosed in the UK will live for 10 or more years. But did you know that women of colour and ethnic minorities are more likely to have poorer outcomes and die from breast cancer in the UK?

We know that the risk of breast cancer recurrence and death can be reduced by positive health behaviours, early detection, treatment and breast health awareness, yet Black and Asian women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at an advanced stage and die. Women of colour see the GP at least two more times before referral so they are often diagnosed later.

Women of colour see the GP at least two more times before referral so they are often diagnosed later.

Raising awareness amongst BAMER communities

The awareness of cancer and behaviour changes that can reduce cancer risk are lower in BAMER communities than the general public, and once diagnosed, they are less likely to participate in clinical trials (MacmillanAncora). Health awareness programs are not shared in different languages and resources lack awareness of dietary and lifestyle approaches specific to these communities. 

I am working with Penny Brohn UK to provide diet and lifestyle talks which are specific to the South Asian community, with a breast cancer specific talk on 12th October.

Improving equity in cancer care

For there to be real change and for the outcomes for women of colour to improve, we need to address the inequalities within our health system which have become apparent during the COVID pandemic and BLM movement. 

This is 2021 and we need to improve equity in the provision of and create culturally sensitive cancer care. One size does not fit all!

Trekstock are hosting an event for health care professionals and changemakers to understand why there is missing data within our health system, how this impacts how cancer care is delivered for marginalised groups and what we can do to improve this. 

This event will take place on 16th November as part of a wider series of events in Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Toral Shah – nutritional scientist and functional medicine practitioner and 3 x breast cancer survivor @theurbankitchen

www.theurbankitchen.co.uk

South Asian cancer events registration

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