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Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Week

Sir Trevor McDonald is backing a campaign to raise levels of awareness about the affects of cancer on Black and Minority Ethnic communities
Sir Trevor McDonald is backing a campaign to raise levels of awareness about the affects of cancer on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

Several cancer charities have worked together to launch Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Week (EMCAW) with the aim of highlighting specific cancer risks affecting BME communities in the UK.

These risks include black women being more susceptible to breast cancer at a younger age and having a more aggressive form of the disease; South Asian people having a higher incidence of mouth cancer and Bangladeshi and Chinese communities having a higher incidence of liver cancer.

Speaking at the launch, held at the House of Commons, Sir Trevor said: "Raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of cancer means that the disease is more likely to be caught in the early stages, allowing patients the best chance of recovery. Providing information about how to change your lifestyle to reduce your risk of getting cancer is as important as developing new treatments and drugs to combat the disease."

A report commissioned by Cancer Research UK found that the poor collection of ethnic data could lead to resources failing to reach those who need them. Through a series of focus groups, the study found that most members of BME communities would be happy to provide details about their ethnic background for healthcare reasons. However, professionals reported that the risk of causing offence could sometimes make them feel awkward asking about a patient's ethnicity.

As part of the campaign, people from BME communities are being encouraged to sign a statement pledging to be more proactive in their own healthcare. These pledges include knowing what is normal for their bodies and consulting a GP about any changes; making use of national cancer screening services and finding out what they can do to reduce their own risk of developing cancer.

7th July 2008

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