Cancer Council SA Community Education Project Officer Charlie Sheridan and Senior Prevention Project Officer Dale Coghlan recently travelled to the Limestone Coast to run workshops for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community members to help break down barriers to cancer screening.
These workshops, run by Cancer Council SA and funded by Country SA PHN (Primary Health Network) in partnership with local service providers such as Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC), provided the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of breast, bowel and cervical screening amongst CALD communities, with the hope of increasing cancer screening participation to reduce the rate and impact of cancer.
Charlie said that research suggests that cancer screening rates amongst individuals from CALD backgrounds are lower than the South Australian averages of bowel screening participation at 48.5% and cervical screening at 65.8%. CALD community bowel screening participation is only at 47.2% and cervical screening is only 55.9%.
“Findings from focus groups showed us that there is a fear factor and stigma around cancer screening in CALD communities, with an uncertainty around how screening works and who is eligible for screening. These workshops allowed us to provide cancer screening information and provide a safe environment for people in regional CALD communities to learn and ask questions,” said Charlie.
“The project sparked a lot of good conversation, and the community was really engaged. I could see that by opening up conversations around screening, stigmas really were broken down,” she said.
Dale shared that feedback from the community was really positive, with strong engagement across all of the workshops.
“This engagement delivered a lot of impact and increased the awareness of screening processes, with many of the community members now aware of cancer screening and what screening programs they are eligible for screening,” he said.
With plenty of positive feedback and willingness of the communities to participate, the Prevention Team hopes to see more CALD community members having conversations about screening and interacting with health professionals to increase screening rates.
Charlie and Dale are now looking forward to evaluating the feedback from the workshops in more detail.
“The next step will see reconnection occur with health practitioners in Limestone Coast CALD communities to confirm if more conversations around screening have occurred, with the ultimate goal to increase cancer screening rates,” said Dale.
For more information on cancer screening, click the link.