I AM proof that breast cancer really can affect anyone. Typically, the disease doesn’t occur in your early twenties – it’s known more to affect mums and grandmas.
It’s that stereotype that had me ignoring my symptoms for so long.
Kris believes stereotypes about who cancer affects resulted in her ignoring her symptoms[/caption]
Gender is also a big issue when it comes to breast cancer because typically we assume it affects only women. But men can get it too.
Age and gender are just two issues in a huge vat of inequalities, though.
Black women in England are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer as white women, according to a study conducted by Cancer Research UK and Public Health England.
Evidence suggests late diagnosis is attributed to a lower uptake of screening, as well as fears and misconceptions about cancer.
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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women have additional needs at this time, with communication issues, isolation and services not adequately understanding cultural differences and religious beliefs.
Information about healthy living and nutrition does not always take faith into account. Help with skin and hair care is not always suitable, and I am sure the list goes on.
Thankfully there are people and charities out there tackling these inequalities, including one very kick-ass woman called Saima Thompson.
Saima, 29, has stage-4 lung cancer but is getting people in her community to talk about health. She is a second-generation immigrant whose mother was born in Pakistan and came to England in the Eighties.
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According to Saima, in south Asian culture people do not speak of ill health and much prefer to present the “very best versions of their lives”. She believes this attitude rubbed off on her.
Saima’s mother didn’t know what cancer was so I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to explain to her mum that she had it.
But thankfully she is spreading her knowledge far and wide. She has also started a cancer support group on Facebook for the BAME community – told you she was kick-ass.