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Reducing cancer taboos and myths within the Nepalese community

Nepal Cancer

10:38am 17th April 2017
(Updated 12:22pm 17th April 2017)

A charity has been breaking down barriers by providing education and support to the Nepalese community in Rushmoor.

Macmillan Cancer Support says of the 13 percent population in the area only a tiny proportion were seeking diagnosis and treatment for cancer.

Several factors including cultural differences and language barriers are thought to be the cause.

So the charity embarked upon a 2 year project aimed at providing education and signposting to local services offering support and advice.

A total of 30 Nepali Cancer Ambassadors have been trained, a buddying and befriending scheme has been set up, a Cancer Support Group has been established and education provided to health and social care professionals.

Cancer Ambassador and Chair of the Rushmoor Cancer Support Group Badriman Gurung said: "Like many other people in my community I knew very little about cancer. Now thanks to this project I understand so much more and can help other people have a greater understanding. Cancer is something that can be treated and support is there."

The project was headed up by Nisha Tiwari Sharma, a Nepalese Macmillan Cancer Educator, who said: "We knew that the area not only has a large Nepalese population but they are also mainly older people. The numbers of Nepalese people accessing cancer services in the area was half that of the rest of the population. Something had to be done to ensure they were getting essential treatments and support.

"Cancer is not something the Nepalese community talk about. It is seen as a very bad thing which should be hidden and there are many other myths and taboos surrounding. So, to break down these barriers we knew that engaging with people from within the community would be the best way to reduce these taboos and build trust."

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