Asian’s shun cancer screening

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THE ASIAN community is less likely to attend cancer screening than non-Asians, a new study has revealed.

The study is the first of its kind and was conducted by the University of Warwick.

It found that only one in three south Asians in Coventry and Warwickshire accepted invitations for bowel screening compared to two thirds of non-Asians.

Similarly, under two thirds of south Asian women went for breast screening compared to three quarters of non-Asian women.

The figures are even starker among the Muslim community, with just one in four Muslims participating in bowel screening and just over half of Muslim women having their breasts screened for cancer.

Professor Ala Szczepura said: “From our findings we can only conclude that cultural differences lie at the heart of the reason why fewer South Asians are coming forward for cancer screening.

“Improved ethnicity recording by primary care trusts would help us understand why uptake of cancer screening varies so dramatically among black and ethnic minorities.”

Commenting on the findings Julietta Patnick, Director of the NHS Cancer

Screening Programmes said: “The information produced by Professor Szczepura and her team is invaluable. We know that encouraging uptake among BME communities is one of our biggest challenges. The Government’s recently published Cancer Reform Strategy highlighted the need to tackle inequalities and this is something we are committed to addressing. We need to support PCTs to redouble their efforts to understand the needs of their local communities to remove barriers and improve accessibility to cancer screening.”

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