WOMEN from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds living in Bradford are set to benefit from a new community health campaign funded by a Yorkshire-based cancer charity.
Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR), a partner in the Telegraph & Argus Bradford Crocus Cancer Appeal, has been awarded £216,000 from the government’s Tampon Tax Fund to deliver the project, which will aim to improve cancer outcomes and reduce inequalities across the district.
The Tampon Tax Fund was created in 2015 following protests against the government’s per cent tax on sanitary products.
Since then, millions of pounds has been redistributed to organisations that work to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.
Dr Kathryn Scott, interim chief executive at YCR, said: “We are delighted to have received this significant funding from the Tampon Tax Fund.
"BAME women living in Bradford often face barriers in accessing healthcare, which can lead to late diagnosis and poor cancer outcomes.
"This money will help us prevent cancer by promoting healthy lifestyles and improve the early diagnosis of cancer through raising awareness of signs and symptoms and the importance of screening within community, pharmacy and GP settings.
"It’s incredibly important that we tailor our messages for specific communities within Yorkshire in order to have the most impact in saving lives."
YCR describes the number of people in Bradford taking part in national cancer screening programmes as "very low."
The district is said to have the lowest bowel cancer screening rate in England, and the fourth lowest rate for cervical and breast cancer screening.
In 2015/16, just 35.4 per cent of people living in Bradford had taken part in the bowel cancer screening programme in the last two-and-a-half years, compared to 56.7 per cent nationally.
The charity also states that screening rates in the district vary "significantly" between GP practices, with rates lower in areas of higher deprivation and higher BAME populations.
YCR states that in order for Bradford's screening rates to match the national averages, an additional 5,500 people across the district would need to be screened.
It said the poor rates led to an increased likelihood of cancers being diagnosed through emergency routes, such as A&E or GP referrals, indicating a lack of awareness of signs and symptoms.
"There is strong evidence that proves community health campaigns are effective in encouraging people to make positive changes to their behaviours," said Dr Scott.
"This can, in turn, have a huge impact on outcomes.
"For every 1,000 people we encourage to attend screening, we will prevent 13 cancer deaths by prevention or early diagnosis.
"Our goal is to save 2,000 more lives every year in Yorkshire by 2025, and this project will play an important role in helping us to achieve this."