Women from minority ethnic backgrounds who live in the Stirling area became bosom buddies for a day, to learn more about breast health.
More than 50 turned up at a special event at Logie Kirk Hall, which was held in response to a report by the Stirling Multicultural Partnership which said language barriers, a lack of confidence and fear of 'bothering' doctors prevents some women from going to their GP or attending breast screening.
The partnership, which includes NHS Forth Valley, Stirling Council and Central Scotland Regional Equality Council, worked together to stage the community event.
Wilma Comrie from Stirling Council and Meg Amasi from the Stirling Multicultural Partnership went out to speak to women in their own communities and community groups, which resulted in a turning point in the number of positive responses they received.
Dr Archana Seth - a consultant radiologist at Forth Valley Royal Hospital - volunteered to organise breast awareness workshops with a number of her colleagues:
"Women were encouraged to attend the day from a wide range of local community groups with an assurance that everyone would be made welcome and it would be informative and fun.
"The women were asked before and after the workshops if they knew when to examine their breasts, how to examine and what to look for. There was a huge improvement in knowledge and confidence as a result of the workshops so it was very worthwhile."
The Keep Well Forth Valley team were also on hand to provide mini health checks. Meg Amasi, Chair of Stirling Multi-Cultural Partnership explained:
"The Keep Well checks are like a health M.O.T - a nurse takes your height and waist measurements as well as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar tests and then talks to you about lifestyle and health concerns.
"Forty-six women took up mini health checks on the day, keeping the three nurses extremely busy! The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the event enabled local women to establish good links across a wide range of communities and we hope to build upon this for future health events."
A UK study by the charity Breast Cancer Care confirmed that women from black and ethnic communities are much less likely than white women to check their breasts for unusual changes. A third also admitted they did not know much about the disease. And 43% of those questioned said they had never checked their breasts, compared with just 11% of the general population.
The event builds on the wider work underway across Scotland during Breast Cancer Awareness month and the launch of new national advertising campaign which aims to increase awareness of the signs of symptoms of breast cancer and encourage women to get checked out by their GP if they have any concerns.
*For more information on Keep Well Forth Valley click here.
NHS Forth Valley
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