How black West African migrants perceive cancer

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This paper examines health beliefs, knowledge and perceptions of cancer among two Anglophone black African migrant communities in Luton, UK. Using a focus group approach, 53 participants from the Ghanaian and Nigerian migrant communities were recruited for separate and mixed male and female groups as well as separate and mixed groups of different nationalities and religious backgrounds.

The study showed that the participants have both biomedical and faith-based understandings of cancer. They will seek medical help as quickly as possible, as well as expressing their health concerns to God in prayer. Silence, concealment and stigma were identified as barriers that prevent some individuals from accessing cancer services. It is hoped that the findings of this study may contribute to cancer awareness campaigns as well as forming the basis for future research among this and other under-researched black minority migrant communities in the UK. Professionals working with these communities need to have an awareness of these perceptions in order to ensure that these populations receive culturally sensitive care.

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