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Why Black women need to attend their mammograms

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By Rosie Vacciana-Browne

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Each year, 41,300 women in England are diagnosed with breast cancer and, 12,000 across the UK lose their lives. 

Despite Breast cancer being more common in White womenBlack women in England are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. So while Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they are more likely to die from it. This worrying statistic highlights one of the many disparities between White and Black people in the British health system. 

There are a range of reasons why Black women are dying from breast cancer disproportionately compared to their White counterparts. Institutional racism is a factor but, so is the lack of Black women coming forward for their mammograms (a screening process that can detect cancer early). One person on the ground addressing the latter is Breast Care Nurse Sherine Kheswa from the Nottingham Breast Institute. 

Sherine and a group of nurses were at The Gambian Football Tournament on Forest Recreation Ground last Saturday, raising awareness around breast cancer and encouraging Black women to come for their breast screening. 

Speaking on the hesitance of Black women to come for their mammograms, Sherine said: “We believe part of the problem is lack of awareness that they need to attend for their screening or at times it could be fear.”

“We’re here today to try and raise awareness and encourage women to come for their breast screening because we know catching breast cancer early can save lives.”

Many women just need some words of encouragement and reassurance to show up for their breast screening. For them, Sherine said: “Screenings are free, especially in the UK and, we know that it could save your life before it spreads. Please, please attend.”

For more information on breast screenings and to book a mammogram, head to the Nottingham Breast Institute website here: https://www.nuh.nhs.uk/nottingham-breast-institute 

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