Changing lives, engaging black African and black Caribbean men affected by prostate cancer

Project Background

“Changing lives, engaging black African and black Caribbean men at risk of or affected by prostate cancer” was a three-year project funded by the Big Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities Programme. The aim of the project was to raise awareness of prostate cancer amongst black African and black Caribbean men and disadvantaged communities and to develop support services for those affected by this cancer.

The successful project was delivered across the seven London boroughs of Brent, Lambeth, Newham, Hackney, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets between January 2017 and January 2020, as part of Orchid’s strategy for enabling men from marginalised and seldom seen, seldom heard communities at high risk of prostate cancer to overcome the barriers to engaging with this disease.

Orchid commissioned an independent evaluation of this project which can be downloaded here or you can ask for a copy.

Original Project Aims

Over 49,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK and there are 11,500 deaths from this disease annually. 1 in 4 black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives and are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men, who have a 1 in 8 chance of getting this disease (Prostate Cancer UK). But only 14% of black men are aware of their higher risk compared to 54% among white men. By raising awareness of this disease and educating men and their loved ones about risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatment options, dealing with aftercare issues and about the information and support services available, our aim through this project was to make a real difference.

The three year project aimed to deliver:

  • Focused information Roadshows in these boroughs to raise awareness of this cancer amongst black African and black Caribbean men and their families
  • A series of talks and presentations in community settings
  • Free specialist information and awareness materials designed to meet the needs of the community i.e. Information Standards accredited prostate cancer leaflets and booklets for black men
  • Facilitated support groups and meetings in the seven London boroughs

The key objectives of this project were to:

  • Increase understanding about prostate cancer amongst black African and black Caribbean men and their loved ones
  • Raise awareness amongst this community about their increased risk levels, risk factors, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, available treatments and aftercare.
  • Encourage men to seek early medical help or advice
  • Provide specialist information material for these men, their families and friends, carers and the wider black community.
  • Provide specialist support to men affected by the disease to ensure they feel less isolated following their diagnosis, when undergoing treatment or dealing with the consequences of this cancer
  • Equipping health care professionals to better understand the information and support needs of black African and black Caribbean men, through training and information

Orchid commissioned an independent evaluation of this project which can be downloaded here or you can ask for a copy.

Delivering the ‘Changing Lives’ project

Orchid developed community partnerships with over 15 voluntary and statutory organisations to help deliver the project, doing so via:

  • 125 community engagement events at which we engaged with around 12,000 people via Roadshows in local markets, shopping centres; talks at faith, community and over 50s groups and information stands in local barber shops, libraries and community events i.e. the Jamaican Family Fun Day at which we used interactive engagement tools such as prostate models.
  • The development and dissemination of a range of culturally appropriate prostate cancer information resources using images which black African and black Caribbean men could identify with including a z-card, helpline card and awareness posters featuring Orchid’s Helpline number.  More than 1,600 posters, 42,000 z-cards and 26,000 helpline cards were distributed during the duration of this programme.
  • The provision of support to 5 prostate cancer peer support groups serving black communities in target locations.  Over 200 black African and black Caribbean men were supported in this way.
  • The creation of an awareness-raising film about a black man’s experience of prostate cancer and engagement with healthcare professionals, Letter to My Unpresented Self, was shown in over 20 community/faith centres in the target boroughs and promoted widely via targeted social media.  It has been viewed over 83,000 on social media.
  • A photographic exhibition, 1 in 4, with an associated 1-minute awareness-raising film to highlight the fact that 1 in 4 black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.  The 1 in 4 film has been viewed over 82,000 times on Facebook and YouTube.
  • Delivery of 14 cultural awareness-raising events (film shows and talks) for healthcare professionals about prostate cancer in black men, resulting in engaging with over 400 nurses, hospital doctors and GPs.

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