Black women in England are twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer as white women.

breast cancer

Source: The Guardian

Black women in England are more likely to get advanced breast cancer than white women, new analysis by Cancer Research UK and Public Health England shows.

It was concluded that late-stage disease affected almost twice as many black women (22% of black African women and 22% of black Caribbean women) than white women (13%).

Experts say this is for many reasons, including possible differences in tumour biology, low awareness of symptoms and screening and barriers to seeking help.

While spotting the disease early is key, Heather Nelson of BME Cancer Voice, said in an interview with the BBC: “Women of colour are less likely to go for screening”.

“You’ll get leaflets through your door and they will be predominantly of white, middle-class women. There’s no representation of South Asian, African descent et cetera”.

“If you get information like that, you’re going to look and think, ‘That’s not about me.’”

One woman said to the BBC:

“A lot of us black people bury our head in the sand: ‘Oh, me, well, I don’t need to go, there’s nothing wrong with me.’”

But lots of work has taken place around breast cancer prevention. In October, the international community celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink ribbon has become a symbol to express moral support for women with the disease.

So, why is this work not reaching everyone? If you’re a black survivor of breast cancer, we want to hear your thoughts. When did you find out you had cancer and what has your experience been? What do you think of the prevention messages available? Does it talk to a diverse range of communities? Why do you think that black women are less likely to go for screening?

Share your story.


 

Breast Cancer and Women of African descent information event in London

Saturday 29 May 3.00pm to 5.00pm

Roxy Bar, 128 Borough High Street, SE1 (next to Sainsburys) Tube: London Bridge

Entry: over 18’s only £5.00 admission, pay on the door

Bring pen and pad and be on time.

This presentation by Sister Abi* aims to empower women with information to help defeat breast cancer. It will cover:

* The reality of risk rates for black women; how white women skew the risk indicators
* 5 steps you can take to reduce your risk ,
* How not breast feeding can increase your risk
* What food and lifestyles increase liability
* The signs that ensure early detection.
* How such information is made difficult to access (there has only ever been one study on how cancer affects black women in the UK)

*Sister Abi holds a first degree in Medical Bio-chemistry, a masters in Clinical bio-chemistry and is pursuing another masters in Public Health. She is currently Programme Manager for an infomatics project for a major cancer charity and will be in the next edition of the New African Woman magazine for her cancer prevention work.