In 2005, the charity’s collaboration with Breast Cancer Care during its Same Difference campaign discovered that in some families, cancer was seen as taboo. Intimate or physical examinations were shied away from and consequently women were dying needlessly.
Since then, NHS Primary Care Trusts together with health centres and support groups have done much to encourage open dialogue, but the anxiety surrounding cancer combined with an understandable fear of what might happen following a diagnosis means many women are still not coming forward.
Roko Cancer’s chairman and founder APS Chawla who set-up the charity following the untimely death of his first wife from breast cancer says: "For many it is the fear of the unknown. Cancer is still seen as a death sentence but our message is that it doesn’t have to be. By seeking early intervention – no matter how worrying – you give yourself a lifeline. "
The charity is also reaching out to men and is urging sons and nephews to encourage grandmothers and older aunts to be knowledgeable about their health.
To support this, the charity’s cancer awareness leaflets printed in Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali and Gutjurati explain clearly and in friendly terms what to expect during a mammogram. They also outline how women can self-examine. Roko Cancer is offering Breast Self-Examination Gloves which community and women’s groups can use to demonstrate early detection.
For information leaflets, gloves or to book a presentation, contact the charity’s team via firstname.lastname@example.org