NHS Race & Health Observatory Launches Pilot Project to Increase Ethnic Diversity in Breast Cancer Trials

  • Sunday, 22/09/2024
  • Admin


On the 31st of August, the NHS Race & Health Observatory, an independent expert body that identifies and tackles health ethnic inequalities in the UK, announced an upcoming pilot project that could potentially improve the specialised services and care for ethnically diverse groups in the country.

The project aims to include a broader spectrum of minoritised ethnicities in clinical trials for breast cancer. These trials are crucial for comparing treatment effects, ultimately contributing valuable data for treating individuals with similar conditions.

So far in the UK, data has been collected from a predominantly White British community, neglecting potential genetic factors affecting how various conditions and illnesses manifest in different ethnic groups. For instance, research from the UK Health Security Agency and Breast Cancer.Org has shown that young Black women can present more aggressive tumour profiles at later stages of breast cancer, having higher mortality rates and experiencing a lack of equity in their treatments.

Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Chief Executive of the Caribbean African Health Network emphasised the legacy of mistrust in research and clinical trials within Black communities: “Across the Black community there is an undoubted legacy of disengagement in research and most certainly clinical trials that stems back decades as a result of mistrust. This has not served us well because it leads to a lack of appropriate interventions that perpetuate the grave health inequalities in breast cancer care”.

The project will be running for a year, the NHS Race and Health Observatory supports it in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, the collaboration with Roche Products Ltd and two NHS trusts – Bart’s Health NHS Trust in London and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.

“I’m delighted that Macmillan can support this project to ensure that future evidence from clinical trials is representative and inclusive” commented Professor Richard Simcock, Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, and a Breast Cancer Oncologist.

The NHS Race Health Observatory's website outlines potential solutions to enhance representation:

- The development of action plans to improve representation of people from Black and ethnic minority communities into breast cancer clinical trials.

- The creation of new marketing materials targeted at the communities the project is aiming to reach.

- The increase of data, comparative baselines and patient retention records for research purposes.

- And the provision of enhanced support to ensure breast cancer patients understand the disease, what clinical research is and navigating patients to suitable clinical trials.

“Programmes such as this one are vital in helping us enhance the future designs of our clinical trials and ensure greater inclusion and better patient access to all of our clinical trials” added Richard Erwin, General Manager at Roche Products Ltd.

Vandu Languages

The mission of Vandu Languages closely resonates with the goals of this pilot project. As a leading Interpreting and Translation agency in the Southeast of England, Vandu is committed to supporting local minoritised communities.

We wholeheartedly invest in each of our translators, interpreters, and bilingual advocates, recognising that their success not only positively impacts minority communities but also extends its reach to benefit broader society in the United Kingdom and overseas countries.

We have teamed up with a Community Support Organisation, Diversity Resource International (DRI), to support communities in and around Sussex. Together, we address critical issues, including institutional racism, workplace discrimination, and equitable access to training and development opportunities.

We’re known for delivering personalised service and value for money across our interpreting, translation, and advocacy services offerings, and we also provide cross-cultural training and advice for organisations. If you want to explore our range of services, please click here or contact us for additional information.