COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Review shows poor cancer support for BME communities

The first comprehensive review of cancer information and support for black and ethnic minority communities (BME) in the UK reveals insecure funding, poor planning and lack of support for staff.

Beyond the Barriers, produced by cancer information charity Cancer Bacup, examines the experiences of 60 support projects, and addresses the perceived low take-up of cancer services by black and ethnic minority communities.

It points out that in some languages there is no word for cancer, and highlights a widespread belief in Arabic and Asian communities that cancer is contagious. A circle of fear is created by low survival rates, with ignorance about the services available and cultural resistance resulting in a low take-up of services.

The report found that almost half of the 60 projects surveyed did not have funding secured for the financial year 2004/5.

Three quarters of those surveyed were funded from the New Opportunities Fund, with 10 projects still awaiting decisions by Primary Care Trusts on their future funding. The report urges the mainstreaming of funding for such projects, and greater commitment from the Government.

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