02 Sep Cancer Education UK Calling For Increased Funding For BAME Communities Skin Tone NHS Prosthetics
Cancer does not discriminate but basic treatment options are not readily available for all skin tones. Cancer Education UK is calling for change.
Cancer does not discriminate - but cancer patients across the UK from Black, Asian and other ethnic groups routinely experience added stress during treatment and recovery due to a lack of skin tone appropriate prosthetics. Cancer Education UK is appealing for change and, by signing the petition, you could be part of making this change a reality.
Former cancer patient Kreena Dhiman explains why she is backing this campaign led by Cancer Education UK. This is her story:
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 33 years old which resulted in a mastectomy to my left breast. For a long time I wasn’t able to have a reconstruction so I wore a prosthesis for quite a few years. When I went for the fitting for my prosthesis there were a range of options available to me. The first thing to do was to match it for size and to make sure it was comfortable, and it sort of matched my existing breast and obviously that was the priority. But as soon as we found something that fitted physically, the fitter just sort of turned round and said to me ‘I’m afraid these only come in one skin tone’ and that was white.
I’m a British Indian girl so I have a brown skin tone and there was no conversation around other variations of colour when it comes to prosthetics.”
Mary Oladele, Cancer Education UK founder and CEO takes up the story: “It is hard to believe that despite how advanced we are in medicare, important things such as skin tone prosthetics are not readily available for all. Patients with cancer already deal with a lot of physiological, financial and emotional stress after receiving their cancer diagnosis.
NHS England and Improvement should provide and make resources available for everyone wherever you live - regardless of skin tone so an already difficult journey is as seamless as possible, hence we are advocating for more funding to be provided in order to provide equal cancer care for all.”
Kreena continues: “I felt very uncomfortable at the time, I think that strength has only come to me in the years after my diagnosis because at that time your entire energy is being used to focus on cancer and getting through cancer and you don’t want to find that extra energy to start talking about the colour of your skin and why they’re not matching it because that’s the last thing you should have to deal with.
Obviously my time has passed and the support wasn’t there which is unfortunate. But for myself, working with charities like Cancer Education UK, it’s about helping the next generation or the next person who walks through the door to avoid having that feeling of inferiority or struggling with what they look like. I was 33 and was wearing a white prosthesis for two years of my life. I never wore a low cut top because you don’t want anyone to see you. It affects your confidence and so much about your day to day being just as you want to slip back into normality. If together we can get the signatures on this petition and get this in front of the government to make a change then it will just help all those people from minority communities who struggle so much when they are diagnosed with cancer for various reasons. They don’t need this extra stress.”
Help make this change possible. Sign and share our petition requesting the government to increase funding for the NHS to provide a range of darker skin tone prosthetics to suit patients from a Black, Asian and other minority ethnc background. Increase funding for Black, Asian and minority skin tone NHS prosthetics - Petitions (parliament.uk)
About Cancer Education UK
Our ambition is to support all in the fight against cancer, while we make an increased effort to represent and support the Black, Asian, Minority ethnic and Refugee community – educating and raising awareness of cancer. Cancer Education UK aims to de-stigmatise cancer as being contagious or end of life and allows individuals to talk about cancer more confidently and to ask questions openly.