A HOME care provider in South Gloucestershire has joined a national campaign in flying the flag for Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month.

Bluebird Care South Gloucestershire has teamed up with charity Macmillan Cancer Support in promoting cancer awareness, with the campaign aiming to highlight and raise awareness in ethnic communities of cancer, screening and services available.

Many different factors can cause cancer, such as family history, diet and lifestyle, but few know that a person’s ethnicity can also mean that they have a lower or higher risk factor of developing certain cancers.

In general, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups have a lower risk of developing cancer than people from a Caucasian background - for instance; in England, white women have a 60-80 per cent higher risk of getting lung cancer than Black and Asian women.

There are however some exceptions - such as mouth cancer being more predominate in the South Asian communities, and Black men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than White men in the UK.

Furthermore, cancer awareness and use of cancer services tend to be lower in ethnic communities. Consequently, this means that BME groups may seek help at a later stage when the cancer is more advanced, or may not even go to their GP for help at all! A delayed diagnosis can often result in poorer survival and recovery chances.

Director of Bluebird Care South Gloucestershire, Sophie Whitfield said: “The stigma of having cancer and a language barrier can often prevent people seeking advice from a medical practitioner, and thus obtaining an early diagnosis.

“We are supporting Macmillan in the need to raise awareness and support people from ethnic groups to check possible signs and symptoms, to seek help from GPs and to uptake cancer support services.”

Changes in lifestyle can help prevent people being diagnosed with cancer. These include decreasing smoking and alcohol intake, eating a nutritious balanced diet, being a healthy weight, exercising regularly, being careful in the sun, understanding your body and looking out for any unusual changes and attending screening check-ups.

Macmillan also offers a wide range of translated cancer information. Visit their website to find more about cancer among BME communities: www.macmillan.org.uk.

For more details contact Bluebird Care by calling 01454 323 624, emailing southglos@bluebirdcare.co.uk, or by visiting their website www.bluebirdcare.co.uk/south-gloucestershire/home.