Focus on July - Staffordshire
July marks Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month, where people across the country come together to raise awareness of cancer within ethnic minority groups. 13% of people living in the UK describe themselves as belonging to a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) group, with the number living in England and Wales alone expected to rise to 20% by 2026. Uptake of cancer screening is generally lower in BME groups than from the White population, with many unaware of the services available to them. Macmillan’s ambition is to reach out to all people affected by cancer and ensure they are aware of the support that it provides.
Ravinder Wouhra, from Sutton Coldfield, went through her own cancer diagnosis in 2013 and turned to Macmillan for support. Now one of the charity’s volunteers, she has used her experience to help others.
‘I have been volunteering for Macmillan for nearly three years now and my role mainly started with fundraising for coffee mornings. Since then I have gone on to do various things for Macmillan. I was a case study for the Not Alone Campaign when the isolation box came to Birmingham last year and I am now trained as a Buddy as part of the volunteering scheme, enabling me to directly support people affected by cancer in my local area.
‘When I was going through my own cancer diagnosis in 2013, Macmillan was there to support me. Being Asian myself it was sometimes hard for me to get the support that I needed and I am determined to turn my experience of breast cancer into a positive, especially encouraging women from the Asian community to come forward before it is too late.
‘I feel a lot of Asians do not come forward, preventing them from being diagnosed much earlier. There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about with cancer. If I can stop breast cancer from being such a taboo in some communities, it might make it easier to bear. By talking to others you are also ensuring they are aware of any changes in their bodies,’ she said.
During her cancer journey, Ravinder called the Macmillan Support Line.
She said: ‘Having cancer can be very lonely and at times you can feel isolated. The support line was a huge comfort for me knowing I could pick up the phone from home and speak to someone, especially if I was emotional.’
Now providing support to others, Ravinder describes her role with Macmillan as wonderful, friendly and awesome.
‘I get to meet some amazing people and above all I get so much satisfaction that I have helped or put a smile on someone’s face. It makes volunteering the most rewarding experience,’ she added.
Macmillan’s Support Line provides an interpretation service of over 200 languages. Just state, in English, the language that you wish to use when you call. If you need information, support or just a chat, call us on 0808 808 0000 Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm.