British Asian Women ‘Hiding Cancer’

Same Difference

A number of UK women from South Asian backgrounds who have cancer hide it because of a perceived stigma about the disease, the BBC has learned.

One woman chose to “suffer on [her] own” through chemotherapy for fear of her family’s reaction, and questioned whether God was punishing her.

Experts said others were seeking help too late, causing preventable deaths.

In one case a woman sought treatment only when her breast was rotten. She later died as the cancer had spread.

‘Very dark days’

Pravina Patel, who told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme about her own experience, stumbled upon a lump in her breast when she was 36.

She grew up in a strict Indian community where even talking about the disease was considered shameful. When she was diagnosed, she decided to hide it.

“I just thought if people hear the fact that I’ve got cancer, they’re going to think…

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