Health S u p p l e m e n t
P r e s e n t e d b y N a t i o n a l C a n c e r Ac t i o n T e a m
In this edition:
Awareness Screening Prostate Cancer Bowel Cancer Survivors Stories Breast Cancer Myths & Misconceptions Support
2 -3 2 3 4 4-5 5 6 7
Time To Act R
idiculous as it sounds, we probably spend far more time and money looking after our hair and our skin rather than our health and well being. This is particularly at odds with the reality that many of us are the backbone of the family; the nurturer of the household whose wellness is crucial to the happiness of the family. So why then do we neglect our health?
As the Associate Director for Patient Experience at the National Cancer Action Team, and as a black woman, a mother, a daughter and soon to be a wife, I know how important it is for my family to have me around, to give advice, support and love. It is with this in mind that we have teamed up with several organisations to put together this supplement which aims to make you aware of how you can take action to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.
In this supplement we talk about what some may think of as one of the last community taboos. CANCER. Whilst I know cancer is uncomfortable to talk about especially within our community it is important we talk about it and we do take action. In this issue we cover: • NHS Cancer Screening Programmes • Support available to black women attending breast screening • Support available specifically for black men • Personal journeys and testimonies • Looking good and feeling better
• Myths and misconceptions about cancer • Cancer facts
cancer does not d i s c r i m i n a t e All rights reserved © Crown Copyright 2011
This is the first of 3 supplements dedicated to empowering you with information that could save your life! Please tell us what you think, but more importantly, please act! Paula Lloyd Associate Director, Patient Experience National Cancer Action Team e-mail: Patient.Experience@london.nhs.uk
Cancer does not discriminate. Being aware could save your life” Paula Lloyd, Associate Director, Patient Experience, National Cancer Action Team
Screening The Key Facts In England there are three national cancer screening programmes for cervical, breast and bowel cancers. Breast Screening looks for cancer in the breast when it is too small to see or feel. The earlier breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. Screening is carried out by taking x-rays of the breasts (called mammograms). Screening invitations are sent every 3 years to women aged 50-70. This age range is currently being extended, to women aged 47-73. Women over the invitation age range can request screening every three years by contacting their local screening unit. It is estimated that breast screening saves around 1,400 lives each year.
Bowel Cancer Screening looks for blood in poo, which can be a sign of bowel cancer. You complete a kit at home, using tiny poo samples, which is then sent to a laboratory to be tested. Anyone with an abnormal result is asked to discuss having a colonoscopy, a procedure to examine the inside of the bowel. Kits are sent every 2 years to men and women aged 60-69. This is being extended to people aged up to 74. Anyone over the invitation age can request a free screening kit by ringing 0800 707 60 60. Regular screening reduces the risk of dying from bowel cancer. If caught early, 9 out of 10 people survive bowel cancer.
Awareness Despite England having 3 world class cancer screening programmes, uptake in the black community is lower than that of the white community. The NHS are working with a number of charities to improve screening uptake. Here we share with you some facts about screening, and the new and innovative programmes designed to improve uptake in the black community. Launched in March of this year, Patient Navigation is a new patient-centred protocol devised by Betterdays Cancer Care and is available to health care professionals. “Patient Navigation addresses the inequalities that exist in cancer care between the rich and poor and different ethnic groups“ explains Marina Raime Founder and Director of Betterdays Cancer Care. “This model provides a proactive approach to ensure early public engagement with health care services and provides a comprehensive support system that prevents delays and improves the patient experience” she confirmed. The new protocol, developed by US Surgeon Dr. Harold P Freeman and adapted for the needs of the UK, ensures that patients are never alone. By pairing women with a Patient Navigator patients are guided through the health care system. The Navigators act as their advocates; assist in locating relevant resources; raise awareness and ensure that any barriers to accessing health care services are addressed. In this way patients are
better equipped to fight their disease and come through their experience in a better frame of mind. The ethos of Patient Navigation is consistent with that of Betterdays Cancer Care in that it aims to be holistic by treating the person and not the disease; it views the patient as an individual and not a health care statistic.
I was diganosed with breast cancer at 35 years of age. I didn't fit the prototype or profile of the mainstream breast cancer patient and thus there was a lack of appropriate support." Marina Raime
The Betterdays Patient Navigation Programme initially had a two pronged approach focussing on supporting black women through the breast screening process and community outreach. “Our breast screening work has involved Patient Navigators reaching out to women eligible for breast cancer screening and acting as facilitators in addressing any barriers to attending screening appointments, answering questions and providing information and support, says Raime. “This has led to an increase in the uptake of breast screening services by black women thereby creating the opportunity for earlier diagnosis.” Information provided by Betterdays Cancer Care
Marina Raime, founder of Betterdays Cancer Care
Cervical Screening looks for abnormal cell changes on the cervix (the neck of the womb) which can develop into cancer. Finding them and treating them can stop cancer from developing. During screening, an instrument called a speculum is gently inserted into the vagina to hold it open. A tiny soft brush is used to collect cells from the cervix, which are sent to a laboratory to be examined. Screening invitations are sent every 3 years for women aged 25-49, and every five years for women aged 50-64. Women aged over 64 who have never been screened or whose last three tests were not clear can also have cervical screening. Screening is usually carried out by the practice nurse at your GP surgery.
Information provided by NHS Cancer Screening Programmes
Picture supplied by Lewisham PCT
NHS National Cancer Action Team accepts no liability for the views and opinions of organisations or individuals in this supplement.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with over 37,000 new cases diagnosed every year in the UK” Dr. Frank Chinegwundoh, Lead Urology Consultant at Newham University Hospital.
Prostate Cancer Did you know that in the UK, African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men of the same age?
The reasons why African Caribbean men have a higher risk of prostate cancer are not yet clear but it may be due to genetic changes passed through generations. With help from The Prostate Cancer Charity we highlight some of the straight-no-chaser facts that you need to know.
Key facts about prostate cancer
• 1 in 9 men will get prostate cancer in the UK • 250,000 men are living with prostate cancer
What is the prostate gland?
• Only men have a prostate gland. It lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the tube that men pass urine and semen through (urethra). The prostate gland’s main job is to make some of the fluid that carries sperm, called semen.
What can go wrong?
The three main types of prostate problems are: • An enlarged prostate. This is the most common prostate problem and can be referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement (BPE) • Prostatitis - An inflammation or infection in the prostate • Prostate cancer
All men over 50 are entitled to a free PSA test on the NHS provided they have made an informed choice following discussion with their GP about the pros and cons of having the test" Department of Health
For more information visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer-of-the-prostate/
Symptoms and what to look for What changes should I look out for? Some men with prostate cancer may have no symptoms at all, but if you have any problems with your waterworks, it might be a sign of a prostate problem. Some symptoms caused by prostate problems include: • Needing to urinate more often, especially at night • Difficulty starting to pass urine • Straining or taking a long time to finish urinating • A weak flow of urine • A feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly • Needing to rush to the toilet – you may occasionally leak urine before you get there • Dribbling urine Problems with passing urine are common in older men but this does not mean men should have to put up with them. There are treatments available for urinary symptoms as well as prostate problems and prostate cancer. Information provided by The Prostate Cancer Charity
NHS National Cancer Action Team accepts no liability for the views and opinions of organisations or individuals in this supplement.
Am I at risk?
Only men can get prostate cancer, but we know that African Caribbean men three times more likely to develop the disease than white men of the same age. • Age: Generally prostate cancer is diagnosed in men over the age of 50 and your risk increases as you get older. • Family: You are 2.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer if your father or brother has been diagnosed with it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer. • Diet: No one knows how to prevent prostate cancer yet and there does not seem to be a direct link between an African Caribbean diet and prostate cancer. But in general, having a healthy diet and lifestyle may be important in protecting against the disease and other health problems.
Testing for prostate cancer
Getting checked just got easier
There is no screening programme for prostate cancer but there is a simple blood test, called the PSA test that can help your doctor work out if you may have a prostate problem. A raised PSA level can show that there might be a problem with your prostate. But a PSA test alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer and there are pros and cons to the test. So if you are concerned about prostate cancer you should talk to your doctor.
Run as a national pilot, a new community walk-in clinic for men with prostate concerns has opened in Newham at the Newham African-Caribbean Resource Centre at 627 Barking Road, E13 9EZ.
Where can I find out more? Call The Prostate Cancer Charity’s Helpline to order free leaflets about prostate problems or to speak to a specialist nurse. 0800 074 8383 or visit website: www.prostate-cancer.org.uk
The clinic is available to men over the age of 40 without the need for an appointment and is open from 2- 7:30pm each Monday and Tuesday. The clinic also offers men a series of prostate related tests, if required, with most test results provided immediately. The Newham Prostate Health Drop-in Clinic is provided by Newham University Hospital NHS Trust (NUHT) with support from the Department of Health and The Prostate Cancer Charity.
Information provided by The Prostate Cancer Charity
2 0 S e c o n d elevator pitch : What is a PSA Test?
What is a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test?
A simple blood test, called the PSA test that can help your doctor work out if you have a prostate problem. But a PSA test has pros and cons and alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer. So if you are concerned about prostate cancer you should talk to your doctor. Information provided by The Prostate Cancer Charity
tips and personal journeys
I would urge all women to get a second opinion if they are unhappy with a first consultation. I knew there was something wrong when I got my first all clear in late 2003 after my annual mammogram but went for a further mammogram after feeling a more defined protrusion. A woman knows her body better than anyone else”
Colour Blind and Gender Neutral Cancer will affect 1 in 3 people in the UK. Valerie Campbell
The charity Beating Bowel Cancer says that almost 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and just under half will die from the disease, often because they are diagnosed too late. Bowel cancer affects 1 in 18 people – men and women of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. When diagnosis is made early, before it has had a chance to spread, bowel cancer can be cured in 9 out of 10 cases. Men and women aged 60 – 69 are eligible for bowel cancer screening (currently being extended up to 74). The screening test detects blood hidden in the small samples of your poo. You complete the test at home over the course of a few days. Once complete, you simply return it by post for analysis. Around 2 in every 100 tests show abnormal results and require further investigation to find out what is causing the bleeding.
Michael’s Story Trust in his God and an acceptance from his family and friends could easily define Michael Coates' story of survival of stage 3 bowel cancer. A fiercely committed Christian and Pastoral Minister, Michael was diagnosed with bowel cancer four years ago when he was 49. Michael had the classic signs of blood in his poo, and like many before him dismissed it. It was only when his wife noticed it she insisted that he get it checked out at the doctors. “I didn’t really think anything of it, as I wasn’t aware that I had any thing to worry about" he said. He was referred to Kings College hospital for internal tests and a biopsy. "The professor told me immediately that he thought it might be bowel cancer".
If diagnosed at a later stage bowel cancer can still be treated successfully using one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This however depends on people recognising and acting on symptoms by going to their GP, and by taking part in bowel cancer screening when it is offered. It could save your life.
It was only when he got the final diagnosis three weeks later that Michael broke the news to his wife that he had one of the most aggressive forms of colon cancers which had spread to his liver. Together they prayed and concluded that “all will be well” – such was the strength of their faith. The oncologist made it clear to him that he might acquire all of the side effects of chemotherapy – sickness, unwellness and possible sterility - but may receive none of the benefits. “He also made it clear that the recommended treatments may not work on my late advanced stage cancer” Michael explained. The prognosis was not good. He started a rigorous round of chemotherapy just before Christmas 2006 and completed his treatment just in time to see the spring bluebells bloom. The good news is that four years later not only is Michael c a n c e r free, he is the proud father to his seventh child who was conceived a year after treatment. Interviewed by AnnMarie Baptiste
Picture: Sharron Wallace
Bowel cancer symptoms Information provided by Beating Bowel Cancer
Most of these symptoms will not be bowel cancer but your GP will want to see you if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for 3 weeks or more:
Bowel cancer is treatable if diagnosed early. However only 9% of patients are diagnosed at the earliest stage. It’s crucial to be symptom aware and go to your GP if you have concerns.” Deborah Alsina, CEO, Bowel Cancer UK
A w a r e
Getting beyond our own fear and learning the facts can go a long way in improving our survival and quality of life. Colorectal or bowel cancer is a treatable cancer that’s not an immediate death sentence, so don’t let that stop you from asking your health care provider about screening and testing. Bowel cancer is not only treatable but beatable.
Many cancers if detected early are treatable. Here cancer survivors share their personal journeys.
B r e a s t
The Bottom Line is: You need to check your poo!
to feel your breasts. use pads of fingers press firmly examine & look for swelling in collarbone and underarm area
to look for. lumps or thickening puckering or inflammation nipple discharge change in shape or size inverted nipple
to feel your breasts. in the shower while getting dressed whenever you want Information provided by Breast Cancer Care
6 Symptoms to look out for • Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding) without any obvious reason. • A persistent change in bowel habit, especially looser poo. • Abdominal pain.
• A lump in your tummy especially on the right hand side. • Unexplained tiredness, dizziness & breathlessness (signs of anaemia). • Unexplained weight loss. Information provided by Beating Bowel Cancer
NHS National Cancer Action Team accepts no liability for the views and opinions of organisations or individuals in this supplement.
tips and personal journeys
When it comes to making time to have a routine mammogram, many women put it to the back of their minds thinking that ignorance is bliss. If this is you - get real! My breast cancer was picked up by a routine mammogram - and thank God! It meant it was caught early which made all the difference. So ok, it was a horrible shock at first, but I got through it.” Trisha Goddard, Breast Cancer Care supporter
Helena’s Story Breast cancer has taken the lives of countless women; today black women are amongst its numbers. Diagnosed with cancer in 1992 at the age of 36, Helena Green’s first thoughts were for her husband and two young boys. “I remember that day perfectly well when the doctor gave me the diagnosis that I had Paget’s disease, a rare form of breast cancer. It was a beautiful sunny day in March. Unusual for that time of the year,” Helena Green recalls in her gentle but forthright voice. “I literally shut down when he said I had cancer. To be honest I was so stunned, I didn’t really hear what he was saying. All I can remember was thinking about my husband and boys and how I wouldn’t see them grow up”. Helena's story started when she felt a strange stinging soreness around the nipple on her left breast. She noticed that there was a redness that looked like a minor graze. A little concerned, but not overly worried she went to a local Well Woman clinic. The nurse there said that she did not think anything was wrong. Reassured, Helena went about her day. The same evening after her shower she saw clear liquid coming from the nipple. Instinct told her that there was something very wrong so the next day she decided to get herself off to her GP surgery for a further check. Originally her doctor thought it was eczema, - a mistake often made by some professionals and women alike about Paget’s disease - but nevertheless
arranged for Helena to go to the hospital for further tests.
“A few weeks later on that bright spring day I was told that I had to have a mastectomy straight away followed by chemo and radiotherapy. However my husband and I decided to get a second opinion. I was rather terrified of what I’d heard about the hideous side of chemo and hair loss plus both my husband and I felt that since the disease was caught early there must be another solution to mastectomy. The oncologists at The Royal Marsden were literally life and boob savers,” she laughs. “They were able to isolate, freeze and surgically remove the nipple with the cancerous cells.” Luckily for Helena the cancer had not spread so there was no need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy. This she puts down to swift action by herself and the healthcare professionals. Nineteen years cancer free, 57 year old Helena has been able to delight in seeing her sons grow up and has even run the London Marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. She also volunteers as a healthcare advocate for Breast Cancer Care to help people who are going through the same challenges. “I always advise women that if they spot anything, and I mean anything suspicious, do get it checked out and if they do get a suspicious diagnosis – research and know your options – that’s what I did and it saved my life”.
Know yourself and know your health Pardon the pun but black women really must stay abreast of their health, especially as breast cancer continues to plague our communities. Late presentation can lead to poorer survival rates. Taking action early is essential. To ensure you ladies stay informed we’ve got together with Breast Cancer Care who offer support and information on getting to know your breasts and looking out for any changes. Every year, around 50,000 people in the UK will hear the words “you have breast cancer”. It’s the most common cancer diagnosed in UK women, and yet 43% of black and minority ethnic women say they never check their breasts. Also, and more concerning is that 45% of black women who reach the right age for breast screening have never been to a screening appointment. This we need to address. The good news is that although the incidence of breast cancer is rising, survival rates have improved – this is probably because of improved treatments and earlier detection. “At Breast Cancer Care, we encourage people to be breast aware by getting to know how their breasts look and feel throughout their life and know what’s normal for them,” explains Grete Brauten Smith, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care. “This means that they will feel more confident about noticing and reporting any changes to their GP.”
If you are one of the 50,000 people who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year then the sooner it is diagnosed the more effective treatment may be. Around 70% of women with breast cancer find out they have it by being breast aware and reporting changes. Research has shown black women often delay going to see their doctor about breast changes, this means they may be diagnosed at a later stage which could explain the poor outcomes. You have to be your own advocate. A late diagnosis can lead to harder-to-treat, more aggressive stages of breast cancer.
Information provided by Breast Cancer Care
Rawle's Story Rawle Price was in great physical shape. He was fit, lean, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and ate all of his fruits and veggies. So when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 he was left thinking, “Why did this happen to me?”
(unconcerned and still none the wiser to cancer) only to be told I had prostate cancer. I literally fell back in the chair. My mind went totally blank. The word cancer was like an immediate death sentence. I saw myself lying in a coffin.
58 year old Rawle does admit that he didn’t seek medical attention straight away when he suddenly felt unusually tired all the time – but was relieved that he didn’t just go to the chemist or the corner shop for a tonic to put the pep back in his step.
Looking back at those dark days I know that part of the problem was that I was unaware and uninformed about cancer. I lived on my own; I had to deal with it in a wilderness where I couldn’t think straight. After many sleepless nights – survival took over and I remember saying to myself ….I wanna live.
“This would have been my usual solution for tiredness, but instead I decided to go to the doctors”. It was a decision that saved his life. After the doctor got the result of Rawle's blood tests he sent him off to the hospital to see an Oncologist for further tests one being the digital rectal examination (DRE). “Even then cancer was the last thing that came into my mind, I thought it was a normal routine check up because my cholesterol level was high. The role of an Oncologist was never explained otherwise I guess I would have been a little more prepared. I rocked up to the hospital to get the results of my biopsy
From that point on I read everything I could find and found support at Cancer Black Care, an organisation started by Issac Dweben whose brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1995. To all men I meet, I always find a point in the conversation to ask whether they have had themselves checked” Rawle Price is an Ambassador for Cancer Black Care. Interviewed by Ann-Marie Baptiste
Myths & Misconceptions
The Myths and the Realities about Cancer To make sure you’re informed about the truths concerning cancer, the National Cancer Action Team asked Seventh Day Adventist Director, Health Ministries, Sharon Platt-McDonald, to let us know 10 of the most popular myths and misconceptions she had heard during her health workshops. We then collated these and asked the Department of Health, Cancer Research UK and NHS Cancer Screening Programmes to review the list. These are the realities concerning the disease.
Black people generally have a lower rate of cancer than other cultural groups, in particular caucasians
In the UK, black people do have lower rates of many cancers than white people, including breast, bowel and lung cancers. However, they also have higher rates of prostate, stomach and liver cancers.
Fibroids can turn ‘nasty’ and lead to cancer after the menopause
Fibroids are very common. Because doctors sometimes refer to them as ‘tumours’, people confuse them with cancer. However they are not cancer - they are benign (non cancerous) growths. In many women, they don’t even cause any symptoms and need no treatment. Other women may suffer from pelvic pain and very heavy periods and so may need treatment. In fact, fibroids may become less troublesome after menopause as they shrink in some women. There is a very rare type of cancer called a ‘leiomyosarcoma’. Very, very rarely a woman having surgery to remove fibroids is found to have this type of tumour, which grows in the muscle layer of the womb. But it does not develop from a fibroid – it is a completely different condition.
If you sleep in a bra it prevents breast cancer/If you sleep in a bra you can get breast cancer as the breasts overheat/Under-wire bras cause breast cancer
There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that wearing any kind of bra, night or day, can either prevent or cause breast cancer. This myth started with a book which claimed that underwire bras stop toxins from draining away from the breast. But this is not how the body works – fluids in the breast actually travel up and out of the armpits rather than down towards the wire. Wearing a bra will not affect your cancer risk.
Anti perspirants with aluminium and parabens cause breast cancer and in particular the spread of cancer to underarm lymph nodes
This myth started with an email hoax, and there is no evidence to back it up. In fact, we know that women who use deodorants are no more likely to develop cancer than those who do not. Some people claim that a chemical called parabens in deodorants could lead to cancer. But this is not true – parabens are unlikely to have a big effect in our body and most modern deodorants do not have parabens anyway.
Herbal medicine can cure cancer
There is no evidence that herbal medicine can cure cancer. Some cancer medicines have been developed from plants after they have been found to have an effect on cancer cells in laboratory tests. But this is a complex process involving a huge amount of medical research. Herbal medicines contain a mixture of many different substances in varying amounts, some of which may be harmful and others that may interact with conventional medicines. There have been some trials testing herbal medicines as cancer treatments, but there is no strong evidence that any of them can prevent, treat or cure cancer.
Microwaving foods can cause cancer
People sometimes send round hoax emails saying that microwaving foods can cause cancer. There is no evidence at all to back this up. Some of the emails say that it is microwaving food in plastic containers or cling film that causes cancer. This isn’t true either, but if it worries you, just use either microwaveable plastic or a glass bowl with a plate on top.
Cancer – The Faith Factor By Sharon Platt-McDonald, Director, Health Ministries/Disability Awareness, Seventh Day Adventist Church
Breast cancer screening e.g. squashing the breasts between the x-ray plates can cause cancer
There is no evidence that the process of squashing the breasts in order to take an x-ray can cause cancer. However there is a very tiny risk from the x-ray radiation. Scientists estimate that if 14,000 women were screened regularly for 10 years, one woman may die from breast cancer caused by x-ray radiation. But you have to weigh up this small risk against the risk of breast cancer to your health. Around 7 cancers are found for every 1,000 women screened and the cancers found are generally at an earlier stage when they are much easier to treat and cure.
All burnt or over grilled foods cause cancer
Cooking meat at high temperatures, such as on a barbeque, can produce chemicals that can damage body cells. However, it is not clear if this could increase the risk of cancer. We know that people who eat a lot of red and processed meat – such as beef, sausages or bacon – have a higher risk of cancer than people who don’t eat so much of these meats.
Surgery can cause the spread of cancer to other organs
There is no evidence that surgery can spread cancer to other organs. In theory, if a cancer ruptures during an operation, cancer cells could spill out. But surgeons take extreme care to make sure this doesn’t happen. When keyhole surgery first started, there were rare reports of tumours developing at the site where the surgeon put the scope through the skin. Since then, the techniques have developed further to stop this happening. Having a cancer and not having it treated is a far, far greater risk to your health. In time it is almost certain to spread to other parts of your body.
Cervical cancer is caused by having too many sexual partners
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by a virus called HPV, which is passed on through sex. Many people in the UK are infected with HPV and most infections go away on their own. Only a small minority of them progress on to cancer. It is true that the more sexual partners someone has, the higher their risk of getting HPV, and developing cervical cancer. But it is not true that this applies to everyone with cervical cancer. It is perfectly possible to pick up HPV from just one partner if they are infected. You can reduce your risk of any sexually transmitted infection, including HPV, by practising safe sex.
“My faith saved my life!” was the emphatic comment of one breast cancer survivor I spoke to recently. She had gone through a ‘harrowing’ time as she described it, yet her deep conviction was evident as she shared her story with passion concluding that her connection with God was the key factor in her survival. This she attributed to daily prayer, affirming bible scriptures, the support from her church family and knowledge that God was ultimately ‘in charge’ of her life. It is clear that when we face a life crisis, be it health or otherwise it can create a tension between our belief and our reality. For some it may deepen their resolve in God, but for others the onset of serious illness can pose a serious challenge to their faith. I have known of individuals of faith who found the concept of suffering, sickness and impending death unfair, overwhelming, and was in fact incongruent with their perception of a loving God. I am also acquainted with individuals whose faith was severely challenged when faced with a potentially terminal illness like cancer. Yet in times of illness and struggle the power of faith, hope and prayer should not be under estimated. As a church we have found that it helps us to better understand challenges like facing cancer from a holistic viewpoint. In 2002 my youngest sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Having a firm faith in God (in spite of her circumstances) she was determined that God was in control of her future and she was trusting her life to His care. She stated that very early in her diagnosis she realised that aside from the enormity of the prognosis, the more significant issue was the attitude in which she would choose to deal with it. Today, my sister is enjoying good health and continues to give God and medical intervention the credit.
Cancer Hair Care is a pioneering private, discreet facility based in Streatham, South London, providing Great Hair 'til yours grows back! The aim is to help overcome the preconceptions around wearing a wig and to give the best standard of care available to people suffering with medical hair loss. Losing your hair is the very public face of
cancer. It is emotionally distressing, causes poor self-image and low self esteem. The centre offers professional one-on-one care, with a choice from a huge selection of stylish, natural looking wigs that’ll make you look fly whatever your choice - be it wavy, curly straight or in between. Each wig will be individually cut and styled by professionals who truly support your challenge. The centre also provides advice on beauty therapies and make up to compliment each "new" hairstyle. Check out Cancer Hair Care at www.cancerhaircare.org.uk Information provided by Cancer Hair Care
Men Talk Too "Men Talk Too is a very special support forum for men whose partners have been diagnosed with cancer. It’s a place where men can speak openly about their feelings, concerns and the many emotional issues they may face during this very special period", says founder and CEO Brian Messam.
professionals and other men who are facing similar issues.
He set up Men Talk Too this year with partners Matt Martys who specialises in bereavement and couples counselling and Dr Georges Petitjean, both members of The British Association for Counselling (BACP Accredited) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF), after supporting his dear friend, and mother of super model Naomi - Valerie Campbell when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
Many find that talking about the problem goes a long way towards solving it, especially when chatting with others who are in, or have been in the same situation.
He recalls, “I experienced at first hand the stress and emotional torment of seeing the suffering of someone close and realised that there were many other men around me, be they husbands, partners or friends, who found the treatments being given to their loved ones distressing”. The workshops are specifically designed with male partners in mind. It’s a safe platform for men to discuss their concerns with leading
We understand that it is often awkward, embarrassing, uncomfortable and even painful for some men to talk about illness with family and friends.
No-one knows what effect this disease will have on their closest relationships. Some men have been devastated when their wives of many years have reacted to their cancer diagnosis by demanding a separation or divorce. There are also women who have been truly amazed at the previously unknown levels of tenderness, love and support shown to them by their partners throughout the traumas of a mastectomy and the follow-up treatment. Couples workshops are also available at MenTalkToo. Next workshop: date Saturday August 6th 2011 2pm - 4pm. Limited space available. Contact Brian or Matt 020 8835 0136 to book your space Information provided by Men Talk Too
Look Good…Feel Better Look Good…Feel Better is the only international charity created to help women combat the often distressing visible side effects of their cancer treatment. LGFB was formed in 1994 and is supported by over 40 leading companies and brands in the Beauty and Fragrance Industry. The programme offers free skincare and make-up workshops in over 60 locations throughout the UK.
relaxed, full of renewed confidence in their appearance and having regained a degree of control over their lives. Also available is the LGFB Confidence Kit – an extensive DVD and booklet which covers skincare and make-up, wig selection and styling, hair alternatives and nailcare. To find out more visit: www.lgfb.co.uk
Valerie Campbell’s Hair Story For most women hair and beauty go hand in hand, and never more than when your media life demands that you show up and show out in all your glory. Add to the mix that you are the mother of Naomi Campbell, one of the world’s most famous super models – then stress levels justifiably climb.
Information provided by Look Good... Feel Better
“He is a magician with hair” she said. “Even the nurses said how lucky I was not losing my hair the wigs were so realistic". Interviewed by Ann-Marie Baptiste
It is understandable that although the focus centres on health, well being and that all important "all clear" from the doctors, losing ones locks – due to chemotherapy – can play havoc with any woman's self esteem and confidence. Such was the dilemma for Valerie Campbell who lost her tresses when she underwent the six and a half months of chemotherapy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Luckily for Valerie she had the unconditional love of good friend Brian Messam who not only held her hand and supported her through her treatment, he used his talent as a top hair stylist to create a number of
It’s good to talk
Meet Pacesetters: How one London borough listened, and then acted in our best interest. In order to reduce health inequalities for its ethnic minority residents it became clear that one of the key objectives for NHS Lewisham and its partners was to improve cervical, breast and bowel cancer screening uptake. Today NHS Lewisham has been recognised by the Department of Health and NHS London for the work carried out through the Pacesetters programme, - a proactive initiative that worked with local women from black and minority
Human hair and synthetic hair wigs fitted, styled, and cut to individual needs available from cancerhaircare.org.uk
ethnic communities to promote attendance at breast screening. Cancer Screening Health Promoter for NHS Lewisham, Zoe Wright said: “The Pacesetter’s programme works because its ethos dictates that the community needs must be at the heart of its health practices. We engage with a team of volunteers to organise and facilitate cancer awareness workshops, presentations, festival or group meetings, which attract a diverse population in terms of age and ethnicity.”.
Information provided by NHS Lewisham
Useful Cancer Facts from Dr. Ruth Jack, Epidemiologist and Research Associate Thames Cancer Registry Breast Cancer: Overall, Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than White women, but it is still the most common cancer. Myeloma: (Multiple) myeloma is a rare cancer that develops in bone marrow. In England, Black men and women are more likely to be diagnosed with myeloma than White groups.
At the beginning of each workshop, patients are given a gift bag filled with 17 different products donated by major companies. Demonstrating each one in turn, three volunteer beauty consultants take everyone through a specially designed 12-step skincare and make-up regime – eyebrows and lashes are delicately ‘drawn’ back, dark circles are ‘hidden’, complexions are pampered and smoothed. At the end of each session of learning, fun and laughter ladies leave feeling
almost non-detectable wigs for her to wear.
Pic - NHS Lewisham Pacesetters
Cancer Hair Care
Liver Cancer: Black African men and women are around two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer than White groups. However, if you are Black Caribbean, there is a similar risk of being diagnosed with liver cancer to White groups.
We have got together with NHS Lewisham to give the first 50 lucky readers to email Patient.Experience@london.nhs.uk a free copy of Opening the Pathway to a Healthy Life. The DVD provides real stories and facts about breast screening.
Help and contributors
Where to find out more ... Anthony Nolan 0303 303 0303 www.anthonynolan.org
Marie Curie Cancer Care 0800 716 146 www.mariecurie.org.uk
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation 0800 358 7200 www.roycastle.org
Beating Bowel Cancer 08450 719 301 www.beatingbowelcancer.org
Mouth Cancer Foundation 01924 950 950 www.mouthcancerfoundation.org
Sarcoma UK 020 7250 8271 www.sarcoma.org.uk
Bowel Cancer UK 0800 8 40 35 40 www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk
Myeloma UK 0800 980 3332 www.myeloma.org.uk
Teenage Cancer Trust 020 7612 0370 www.teenagecancertrust.org
Brain Tumour UK 0845 4500 386 www.braintumouruk.org.uk
National Cancer Action Team www.ncat.nhs.uk www.cancerinfo.nhs.uk
Breast Cancer Care 0808 800 6000 www.breastcancercare.org.uk
Net Patient Foundation 0800 434 6476 www.netpatientfoundation.org
Breakthrough Breast Cancer 08080 100 200 www.breakthrough.org.uk
NHS Cancer Screening Programmes www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk
Cancer Research UK 0808 800 40 40 www.cancerresearchuk.org CLIC Sargent (for children with cancer) 0300 330 0803 www.clicsargent.org.uk Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust 0808 802 8000 www.jostrust.org.uk Look Good...Feel Better UK 01372 747500 www.lgfb.co.uk Macmillan Cancer Support 0808 808 0000 www.macmillan.org.uk Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres 0300 123 1801 www.maggiescentres.org
NHS Choices www.nhs.uk Ovarian Cancer Action 0300 456 4700 www.ovarian.org.uk Ovacome – Ovarian Cancer Support 0845 371 0554 www.ovacome.org.uk The Prostate Cancer Charity 0800 074 8383 www.prostate-cancer.org.uk Pancreatic Cancer UK 0203 177 1686 www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk
Organisations working specifically for the black and ethnic minority community African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) 020 8240 4480 www.aclt.org The Afiya Trust www.afiya-trust.org Betterdays www.betterdays.uk.com
BLACK CANCER VOICE Black cancer patients have reported a poorer perception of cancer services than white cancer patients. To help understand and improve the experiences of black and other minority groups, the National Cancer Action Team are calling for anyone from black and minority ethnic groups affected by cancer to have your say! If you are aged 16 years or older and want to help us improve NHS cancer services, join the Black Cancer Voice and tell us how we can improve. Those who join will be invited to take part in up to 3 surveys which will each focus on a different aspect of the patient or carers journey. If you would like to complete a survey online please visit: www.blackcancervoice.co.uk Or if you would like join over the phone: call freephone: 0800 634 7382
BME Cancer Communities 0115 934 8482 www.bmecancer.com Cancer Black Care www.cancerblackcare.org.uk Cancer Equality www.cancerequality.org.uk
Rarer Cancers Foundation 0800 434 6476 www.rarercancers.org.uk
Production Credits Editors Ann-Marie Baptiste & Associates (AMBA) Paula Lloyd, Associate Director, Patient Experience, National Cancer Action Team
Design D237 NCAT production coordinators Susan Butt Dennise Friday
Cancer Screening Programmes