During 2021, Answer Cancer funded a number of organisations in an effort to target groups who we know have a lower than average uptake of cancer screening. These include marginalised communities such as LGBTQ+ and people from BAME backgrounds.
In total, five organisations were funded to undertake specific work with their communities, and deliver agreed outcomes. Here is a summary of what took place and what they achieved.
Friends of Dorothy
Friends of Dorothy contributed to events during Ovarian Cancer Day and Bowel Cancer Awareness month. They used social media to raise awareness of these conditions and highlighted the importance of early detection and Bowel Cancer screening. Through their activities, they engaged with 982 people from LGBTQ+ communities. See here.
Their future plans include creating a YouTube video based on their social media posts. Furthermore, they plan to attend future Answer Cancer training sessions to hone their presentation skills and to improve their knowledge; after which they plan to host their own cancer awareness sessions.
Gaydio produced adverts focussing on raising awareness of bowel cancer and promoting the bowel cancer screening. They began by briefing a group of volunteers to research and write an advert around bowel cancer to go out during Bowel Cancer Awareness month. The group put together an advert which was then broadcast to listeners. It was played 5 times a day over a month-long period.
Through their work, Gaydio engaged with BAME groups, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and people with mental health concerns. Those who engaged with the project included people who had personal experience of bowel cancer. As a result of this work, 10 new Answer Cancer Champions were recruited. You can hear the advert here.
Girl Gang Manchester
Girl Gang Manchester produced a 6-minute-long promotional film focussing on cervical cancer screening called “Spread to Pledge.” The film offered tips and advice to help viewers feel more confident about taking part in cervical screening, and gave information about what to expect during their appointment. The unique film was produced by the volunteers at Girl Gang Manchester and was designed in a style consistent with the group ethos: funny, irreverent and breaking down barriers.
Their goal was to challenge misconceptions and stigmas associated with cervical screening and to use comedy to alleviate the fear and anxiety many people experience. Through their project they engaged with BAME groups, carers, LGBTQ+ communities, and people struggling with mental health issues.
An online launch event took place to premiere the film, which was also was shared across YouTube and other social media platforms by Girl Gang Manchester and Answer Cancer. You can view the film here.
Rochdale Gateway Leisure Ltd
Rochdale Gateway Leisure’s goals were to pass on knowledge about signs and symptoms of bowel, breast and cervical cancer to ethnic minorities, service users with learning disabilities and their families. They also aimed to tackle myths about the cervical screening which act as a barrier for Asian women with learning disabilities to go to their appointments.
To achieve their aims, they arranged training for learning disability services and they designed a leaflet in multiple languages with information about signs and symptoms. Furthermore, they held face-to-face cancer awareness sessions following their attendance at Answer Cancer training. In total, Rochdale Gateway contributed to 3 events, engaging with 15 people and recruiting 5 new Answer Cancer Champions. In addition to engaging with people with learning disabilities, the group also engaged with BAME communities, carers and people with mental health issues.
The awareness sessions went well and received positive feedback from the attendees. They had good interaction from the attendees who particularly enjoyed the use of props. The interaction also offered the attendees to share their concerns and fears about the smear test. The hosts were able to reassure the attendees, offer guidance and referred them to reliable sources to gain more information.
The organisation has signed up an Organisation Answer Cancer Champion following the completion of their project. They aim to continue to spread positive messages regarding the NHS Cancer Screening Programme to the communities they interact with, as well as people within their organisation.
Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association
Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association contributed to two separate events, which were attended by a total of 30 people. The sessions aimed to inform people about different cancers and the importance of early detection, discussed the NHS screening programmes, and highlighted the importance of seeking medical advice. The sessions were co-delivered with support from the Answer Cancer team in different languages. Following the session three new Answer Cancer Champions were recruited.
Feedback showed that people enjoyed the sessions and increased their knowledge around the topic. A question and answer session was particularly welcomed as it helped keep people engaged and avoided any confusion. It also provided networking opportunities and a supportive environment for people to share their experiences.
The outcome of these sessions was that people felt confident about attending their screening when invited. In the future, the group hopes to host more awareness sessions. Also, the group hopes to arrange group gatherings where people can share their stories in a supportive environment.