Ovarian cancer charity Ovacome is launching the first multilingual awareness campaign in the West Midlands outlining the symptoms of the disease — which is characterised by bloating — in seven languages.
The campaign, running from November 18th, is aimed at reaching at least 40,000 people across the region from diverse communities, with printed material, press coverage and short educational videos which can be shared on social media.
Leaflets from the charity, which opened a hub in Dudley last year, will start appearing in medical centres and other public spaces across the region in Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu and English.
And for those people who do not have English as their first or preferred language, Ovacome has set up phone lines in each of these languages, in a bid to support as well as to reach out to more diverse groups with the symptoms message.
With many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer being in common with less serious conditions, they are often easy to dismiss, says Ovacome. It has come up with the easy to remember BEAT acronym of the main signs of what to look out for:
B is for bloating that doesn’t come and go; E is for eating difficulty and feeling full more quickly; A is for abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days and T is for toilet changes, in urination or bowel habits.
If you have these symptoms chances are that you will not have ovarian cancer, but it is worth getting checked out by your GP if they are new and persistent.
This is the central message of the campaign — made possible by an £86,485 grant from the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund. It comes at a crucial time in cancer diagnosis, with the pandemic causing many people to delay getting symptoms checked out, says the charity.
“We want to get the message out there loud and clear, in seven languages, that if you have persistent bloating, or any of the other main symptoms don’t put off contacting your GP”, says Ovacome’s West Midlands regional hub co-ordinator Laura Nott.
“The smear test will not pick up the disease and so it is for us all to be aware of changes to our body and not be too ready to brush off any abdominal changes as being nothing to worry about,” she adds.
Laura is also keen to hear from local partnership organisations and people in the NHS who might want to share the charity’s multi-language resources, even if they are outside of the West Midlands.
“We recognise that we are in a unique position to have this invaluable awareness material in so many languages and of course we want to make the most of this for the wider good,” says Laura.
The campaign has been welcomed by Ameena Muflihi, community officer of the Yemeni Community Association in Sandwell, who helped Ovacome put together the film and leaflet in Arabic.
“What this is doing is putting out a friendly hand and saying that ‘we are here for you in the language that you feel most comfortable communicating in’,” says Ameena. “Medical material can be overwhelming, but this content is in laymen’s terms and will build the bridge between the barriers of language. Being able to sit and listen to a video in your own language will make the information easier to process and could make all the difference between somebody getting symptoms checked out or not.”
- If you would like to get in touch with Laura contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- The support line telephone numbers ask callers to leave their name and contact details and information of what support they need and Ovacome will arrange to return their call with an interpreter.
The numbers are:
Arabic – 0121 647 6630
Bengali – 0121 647 6631
Gujarati – 0121 647 6632
Polish – 0121 647 6633
Punjabi – 0121 647 6634
Urdu – 0121 647 6635