Cancer prevention and survival experts launch online support programme to tackle the ‘forgotten c’

30 September 2020

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), a charity that delivers life changing research and health advice on cancer prevention, is launching an online support series to help stop cancer becoming the ‘forgotten C’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual sessions are for health professionals and people living with and beyond cancer, and have been developed in collaboration with these groups. 

Two sessions are for health professionals wanting to help their patients prevent cancer, and have a particular focus on reducing racial inequalities within diagnosis and treatment. Black and Asian women have poorer breast cancer survival rates compared to White women1 and it is therefore vital to spread awareness and encourage people from these communities to attend breast screenings, treatment sessions, and follow-ups.

The third session is a support group specifically for people living with breast cancer, and breast cancer survivors to improve their quality-of-life through nutrition. Interested attendees can pre-register for the session of their choice online. 

October’s sessions focus on breast cancer as it is the most common cancer in women in the UK – with one in seven women developing the disease at some stage in their lifetime2. Every month the sessions will focus on a different type of cancer, with Prostate Cancer scheduled for November.

The patient support group will be hosted by WCRF oncology dietitian, Adele Hug, who said: “We have seen through the pandemic how much cancer services have been derailed and the impact this has had on those living with cancer. It’s been a struggle for some people living with cancer to get the appropriate advice they need.

“Eating well and having regular support from a health professional are important for people living with cancer, which is why these sessions will provide tailored advice dependent on the attendees needs. I’ll be there to help you make sense of any information you’ve read online and address any questions you have around nutrition and cancer.” 

Toral Shah, breast cancer survivor, nutritionist and Founder of the Urban Kitchen is hosting the sessions for health professionals. She said: “Sadly, there are huge inequalities in cancer care in the UK in black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. In part, this is because some health care professionals are not aware or understanding of the cultural and socio-economic differences that can impact these patients. We know that early diagnosis of breast cancer helps to save lives and this starts with raising awareness and education, along with combatting prejudice within the healthcare system.”

Further information on the sessions is below and you can sign-up via the WCRF website: https://www.wcrf-uk.org/uk/here-help.

This month’s online workshop will be hosted by Toral Shah; breast cancer survivor, nutritionist and Founder of The Urban Kitchen. Being of a South Asian descent and working closely with the BAME community, Toral will highlight the various factors that influence a person’s risk of developing cancer and explore the effect of existing inequalities on diagnosis and treatment of cancer in minority ethnic groups in the UK.

WCRF has teamed up with MyNutriWeb, an online platform that offers free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited webinars to health professionals. This session will be hosted by WCRF nutritionist, Rachel Clark and Founder of The Urban Kitchen, Toral Shah. By the end of the webinar, health professionals will understand the science underpinning the research on lifestyle and breast cancer. They will also learn about common myths, taboos, and inequalities in breast cancer awareness, diagnosis, and survival among different ethnic groups.

As part of this monthly series, WCRF’s oncology dietitian, Adele Hug, will be hosting the first free online support groups for anyone affected by breast cancer including carers. The closed sessions are for a limited number of people so that all attendees can ask very specific questions and discuss concerns they may have related to living with breast cancer. Adele will provide advice on how to eat well during cancer that is specifically tailored to people’s needs. 

Ends

For more information, to arrange interviews and all other media enquiries, contact Attiya Shaffi, Communication and Health Information Coordinator at WCRF, on a.shaffi@wcrf.org.

Notes to editor

1Breast cancer and inequalities: a review of the evidence, 2011, accessed 10/10/20: https://breastcancernow.org/sites/default/files/files/breast-cancer-ineq...

2Facts and statistics, 2020, accessed 22/10/20: https://breastcancernow.org/about-us/media/facts-statistics

About World Cancer Research Fund:

World Cancer Research Fund is one of the world’s leading cancer prevention charities, and the only UK charity dedicated to funding life-changing research into the prevention of cancer through diet and lifestyle. We cut through the jargon to turn the latest global research on cancer prevention and survival into practical, straightforward advice and information, helping anyone who wants to reduce their risk of developing cancer to make fully informed lifestyle choices.

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