“After my own relatively late cancer diagnosis in 2007 and the knowledge that BME people, and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly and slow learners, are more likely to have a late diagnosis, suffer a poorer experience of care and have lower survival rates, I felt determined to push for an improvement in health care for all patients, carers and family members. I became a Macmillan Cancer Voice and help in a number of ways, from reviewing books on cancer to giving cancer awareness raising talks – mainly to BME groups.
In 2010 I worked with other cancer survivors working at a local level to make the voices of cancer patients heard. Being a poet and storyteller, I started the Healing Word in 2011 as a cancer support group using word-based therapies. I was also among the first to join BME Cancer Voice, back when it was called the National BME Cancer Patient Advisory Panel, at its launch in December 2008. Membership means that, with other BME patients and carers, I share, through national surveys, our experiences of cancer care services, and provide the NHS nationally with information for improving cancer services for all.
I urge you to join too. It is free, no meetings are needed and you can opt out at anytime. There’s also the option of doing the surveys in your first language over the telephone. Members get a newsletter update on the results of the 3 or 4 annual surveys and the satisfaction of knowing that we are contributing to promoting cancer care equality.”
Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE
BME Cancer Voice