I have been involved with Cancer Black Care since 1996 at the behest of the founder.
I have been Chairman since 1998.
Imagine having received the dreaded news that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. This is devastating for everyone but just imagine trying to cope with this news when you do not speak English or recently arrived in the UK and a stranger to the complicated NHS. Many people from BME communities are faced with this harsh reality and many cannot access the available health advice on offer.
Cancer Black Care (CBC) was set up to help such groups and has provided a service to the BME Community since 1995. The demand for services is still increasing. From its early mission focused on helping the African Caribbean Community, we now welcome people from all ethnic backgrounds. A trend over recent years has been the growth of the support needed by people of Eastern European origins since the opening of borders to new EU countries.
CBC provides a unique service providing information, advice and support services for cancer patients and their families, which is sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity.
It is acknowledged that despite the efforts of central government and cancer agencies, if you are black or from another minority ethnic group you are more likely to die from preventable and treatable cancers than the mainstream UK population.
While we continue to research the reasons for this changing trend, it is clear that a lack of information and awareness within these communities is a contributory factor.
2010/2011 Cancer Black Care in conjunction with Betterdays Cancer Care ran a 1 year project, introducing the idea of patient navigation to the UK. The project aim was to increase the uptake of breast cancer screening amongst the African-Caribbean community in South London. The project was launched at the House of Commons on March 8, 2011.
The proceedings of the launch were chaired by Dr. Frank Chinegwundoh (on the right of the picture), Chairman of Cancer Black Care and a Consultant Urological Surgeon. The guest of honour and key note speaker was Dr. Harold P. Freeman who shared his experiences on the development of the initial programme in Harlem, New York and offered support and advice on the introduction of Patient Navigation to the UK.
Other speakers included Prof Julietta Patnick, Director of the NHS Cancer
Screening Programme, Paula Lloyd, Associate Director Patient Experience from the
National Cancer Action Team and Dr. Gillian Holdsworth, Consultant in Public Health Medicine from NHS Southwark, all of whom highlighted the need for such a programme and spoke about the success of the work conducted on the Patient Navigation Pilot Project by Better Days Cancer Care in partnership with Cancer Black Care. It was noted that the level of success achieved so far on this project was unprecedented as attempts over the last 20 years to engage with black women to encourage their uptake of breast cancer screening have not been as effective.