• Monday, March 04, 2024


Asian Women Cancer Group in Harrow addresses cancer taboos

The taboo-busting workshops provide a sanctuary for women to share their experiences, rebuild their confidence, and address the emotional scars that often linger long after cancer treatment

The Asian Women Cancer Group – Photo credit: Macmillan Cancer Support

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

In North West London, a group of Asian women are breaking down taboos surrounding cancer with the help of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Asian Women Cancer Group, recently awarded nearly £11,000 by Macmillan to fund a series of taboo-busting workshops is embarking on a mission to empower Asian women living with cancer in the region.

According to a press release from Macmillan Cancer Support these workshops provide a sanctuary for women to share their experiences, rebuild their confidence, and address the emotional scars that often linger long after cancer treatment.

Emma Hammett, Macmillan Engagement Lead for London, shared her insights: “A lot of the people I work with tell me that cancer has damaged their self-confidence. Treatment can leave them with physical scars or body changes such as hair loss. There is also the emotional trauma of a cancer diagnosis, which can affect people for years afterwards.”

Hammett emphasised the crucial role of grants like the one awarded by Macmillan, as the Asian Women Cancer Group receives no government funding. The workshops, generously funded by Macmillan, encompass a wide range of activities.

These include informative talks by medical experts such as psychologists and breast cancer surgeons, self-care workshops focusing on mindfulness, exercise classes, and hair and beauty sessions aimed at helping the women regain their self-assurance post-treatment.

Among the women benefiting from the Asian Women Cancer Group is Saudamini, a 68-year-old retired Bank Manager from Queensbury in Harrow. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer following a routine mammogram.

Photo credit: Macmillan Cancer Support

Saudamini’s journey was complicated by the simultaneous cancer diagnosis her husband, Vipendra, received for bladder cancer.

Highlighting the importance of the Asian Women Cancer Group in her life, Saudamini said, “I think that cancer is still a taboo within the Asian community. The group gives us a confidential space to talk. Within the Asian community, there is still a culture where women get suppressed a lot more than men. Just being with other women who are going through cancer helps us to feel we are not alone and like we can open up.”

On September 12th, the Asian Women Cancer Group hosted a Macmillan Coffee Morning, raising £745 to support individuals living with cancer.

The Macmillan Coffee Morning is a significant annual fundraising event for the charity, generating over £12 million for people affected by cancer last year.

Every contribution matters, as cancer can disrupt an individual’s entire life. Funds raised at events like these go toward various aspects of support provided by Macmillan, including specialist nursing, information on cancer-related issues like hair loss, exercise, and nutrition, as well as financial assistance such as benefits advice and grants.

Additionally, Macmillan offers emotional support through free specialist counselling and local support groups, ensuring that individuals with cancer receive comprehensive care.

Every £33 can fund one hour of Macmillan Nursing, £300 can provide a Macmillan grant to help with cost-of-living challenges, and £510 supports 30 people reaching out to the Macmillan Support line on 0808 808 0000.

Eastern Eye

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