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Media releases 21 Feb 2017

Women from different cultural backgrounds share their breast cancer story to support others

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has launched a series of videos of women from diverse cultural backgrounds sharing their breast cancer experience with the aim of encouraging other women to open up about their diagnosis and seek support. 

In my language: my breast cancer story is a series of six short videos each featuring a woman from a Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Mandarin or Arabic-speaking background who has been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. In these videos the woman tells the story of her diagnosis and treatment in her own words and in her own language, with English sub-titles.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that women in Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Arabic-speaking communities have a high rate of incidences of breast cancer and are more likely to report themselves as speaking English “not well” or “not at all”.

Many of these women reported feeling scared and isolated after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and often had difficulty accessing appropriate information about the kinds of treatment and support available to them and their families.

In addition to this, many women said they felt unsupported by their communities when they revealed they had breast cancer due to cultural myths and misinformation about breast cancer in their communities.

BCNA CEO Christine Nolan said her organisation consulted with women from different cultural backgrounds and many indicated that hearing from other women who had been through a breast cancer experience was important to them.

“We want women to understand they are not alone and they’re not the first woman to go through this experience. We hope these videos will break down some myths and stigma around breast cancer and encourage women to seek support from each other rather than hide their experience,” Christine said.

“We will also be sharing these videos with health professionals to raise awareness of some of the unique challenges facing women from different cultural backgrounds,” she added.

“BCNA supports all Australians affected by breast cancer, no matter where they live and what language they speak.”

BCNA has a range of booklets and other resources in Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Arabic that can be downloaded at bcna.org.au. To view the videos visit www.bcna.org.au/languages.

For more information or interview requests, please contact Sophie Benjamin on 0410 976 991 or at sbenjamin@bcna.org.au.