Black African, Caribbean and South Asian women are urged to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Black African, Caribbean and South Asian women are urged to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Actresses Dona Croll and Meera Syal support NHS ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer amongst ethnic women

The NHS has launched a new ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ public awareness campaign highlighting the fact that the older you get, your chances of getting breast cancer increase, with one third of women diagnosed with the disease each year being aged 70 or over.

Surprisingly, two thirds of women aged 70 and over (67 per cent) wrongly think women of all ages are equally likely to get breast cancer, when in fact a woman’s risk of breast cancer increases with age.

The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign also encourages women from black African and Caribbean communities to know the signs and symptoms, talk to their daughters or daughter-in-laws and visit their doctor if they spot any changes in their breasts.

With many only on the lookout for a lump in the breast, other signs of the disease are often overlooked. The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign pushes women to identify several lesser-known but equally important signs of the disease, including:
• pain in the breast or armpit;
• changes to the nipples, size or shape of the breasts

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Regional Director at Public Health England, said:
“Research shows that women aged over 70 have low symptom awareness and are more likely to delay presenting to their GP with breast cancer, which could ultimately affect their chance of survival.

“Added to this are the cultural taboos and embarrassment that are specifically associated with the discussion and education about breast cancer amongst older black Caribbean, African and Asian women.
“Women cannot afford to ignore the statistics – one in three women who get breast cancer are over 70 , so don’t assume you’re past it or dismiss any symptoms as a sign of ageing and most importantly don’t be afraid to talk to your GP.”

The campaign is urging daughters to engage older female members of their families in conversations about cancer to help detect the disease. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival. Therefore black Caribbean, African and women are encouraged to talk about the issue.
The campaign has received celebrity support, with actresses Dona Croll and Meera Syal featuring in infomercials designed for black African, Caribbean and Asian communities. Speaking on her role in the project, Dona commented:
“If losing precious lives to breast cancer can be avoided, then we must take every step necessary to prevent this. Educating women – specifically older woman from our communities – on the importance of discussion and subsequently, early diagnosis is vitally important. I am keen to help spread awareness and encourage women to monitor their health more vigilantly.”

Meera Syal features in an infomercial designed for the Asian communities. Speaking on her role in the project, Meera says:
“Breast cancer is something which is hardly discussed amongst Asian women. It comes down to taboos and a sense of embarrassment. I really want to help get the message out there that breast cancer is a very real and relevant disease amongst Asians. My own mother suffered from it and fortunately she spotted it early and like most women who do these days she survived. This was due to her swift action in visiting her GP as soon as she noticed changes in her body. It goes to show how quick responses can influence a matter of life and death.”

To download the infomercial featuring Dona Croll, please click here:

To download the infomercial featuring Meera Syal, please click here:


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