Women with black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds living in Bradford will benefit from a new community health campaign funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research.
The charity has been awarded £216,000 from the government’s Tampon Tax Fund to deliver the project, which will aim to improve cancer outcomes and reduce inequalities in the city.
The Tampon Tax Fund was created in 2015 following protests against the government’s 5% tax on sanitary products. Since then, millions of pounds has been redistributed to organisations that work to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.
Dr Kathryn Scott, Interim Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We are delighted to have received this significant funding from the Tampon Tax Fund. BAME women living in Bradford often face barriers in accessing healthcare, which can lead to late diagnosis and poor cancer outcomes.
“This money will help us prevent cancer by promoting healthy lifestyles and improve the early diagnosis of cancer through raising awareness of signs and symptoms and the importance of screening within community, pharmacy and GP settings. It’s incredibly important that we tailor our messages for specific communities within Yorkshire in order to have the most impact in saving lives.”
Bradford is the 19th most deprived area in England, out of 324 local authorities, and the second most deprived area in Yorkshire 1. 72% of the population in Bradford are from BAME groups compared with a national average of 15% - this is the highest percentage in England1. Screening participation is lower in areas with higher deprivation 1,2 and a higher BAME population 3.
The number of people taking part in the national cancer screening programmes in Bradford is very low. The city has the lowest bowel cancer screening rate in England, and the fourth lowest rate for cervical and breast cancer screening. In 2015/16 just 35.4% of people living in Bradford had taken part in the bowel cancer screening programme in the last 2.5 years, compared to 56.7% of the national population 2.
Screening rates also vary significantly between GP practices. In order for Bradford to achieve similar screening rates as the national averages, an additional 5,500 people across the city would need to be screened.
Screening for abnormal or cancerous cells is a vital tool in preventing cancer and diagnosing cancer at an early stage. If patients are diagnosed with cancer at an early stage, their treatment options and chances of survival are greater.
People living in Bradford are more likely to be diagnosed with bowel and breast cancer through emergency routes, such as A&E or emergency GP referral, indicating a lack of awareness of signs and symptoms 4.
A high number of people in Bradford also participate in unhealthy behaviours that can increase the risk of cancer, including smoking and a lack of physical activity. The smoking rate is 20.9% compared to 16.9% across England, and the percentage of overweight or obese people is 67.9% compared to 64.8% 1.
Dr Scott added: “There is strong evidence that proves community health campaigns are effective in encouraging people to make positive changes to their behaviours. This can, in turn, have a huge impact on outcomes. For every 1,000 people we encourage to attend screening, we will prevent 13 cancer deaths by prevention or early diagnosis. Our goal is to save 2,000 more lives every year in Yorkshire by 2025, and this project will play an important role in helping us to achieve this.”
1. PHE Health Profiles https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/
2. National General Practice Profiles https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/
3. Szczepura A, Price C, Gumber A, Breast and bowel cancer screening uptake patterns over 15 years for UK south Asian ethnic minority populations, corrected for differences in socio-demographic characteristics, BMC Public Health 2008, 8:346
Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
- Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
- We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
- Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
- Current statistics show that 575 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
- We aim to:
- Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
- Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
- Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
- Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
- Campaign for fair and equal access to the very best healthcare services and a greater share of the money spent nationally on research.
- For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.