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Oncology Professional Care 2024
21-22 May at ExCeL London

Oncology Professional Care is the must-attend, multi-disciplinary event delivering free CPD-certified learning for the entire oncology community.

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13 Feb 2024

Trailblazer Spotlight: South Asian Supernovas

Trailblazer Spotlight: South Asian Supernovas

At Oncology Professional Care 2024 this May, we are privileged to be hosting Kreena Dhiman and Toral Shah, the founders of South Asian Supernovas, sharing insights.

South Asian Supernovas are a not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving awareness and outcomes for breast cancer in South Asian women in the UK. Learn more about how this organisation is making waves in the oncology community by helping tackle the barriers to effective and equitable cancer care in the UK.

South Asian Supernovas are a not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving awareness and outcomes for breast cancer in South Asian women in the UK. They consider inequalities faced in cancer care in South Asians by considering co-morbidities, culture and cultural conditioning and colonisation of medicine to educate and support those working with this group.

At Oncology Professional Care 2024 this May, we are privileged to be hosting Kreena Dhiman and Toral Shah, the founders of South Asian Supernovas, sharing insights into how the entire oncology community can come together to help tackled the barriers to effective and equitable cancer care for South Asian women in the UK. Until then, let’s take a look at how South Asian Supernovas are turning heads in the oncology community.

The Challenge: Why do we require a South Asian-specific breast cancer organisation?

According to the 2021 census, Asian people make up almost 10% of the UK population with at least 7% of these being of South Asian descent. South Asians are the most populous ethnic minority in the UK.

Whilst there is evidence to show that there is a disparity in both awareness and cancer care for South Asians, there has been very little research to comprehend what South Asians require to support their understanding of the importance of self-checking and screening for breast cancer and risk factors.

Research by Dr Toral Gathani from Oxford University using data from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service has found that women from ethnic minorities in the UK are at greater risk of breast cancer with less advantageous attributes, even after considering age and other confounders. Ethnic minority women have considerable unmet medical needs for diagnosis, treatment, and breast cancer awareness. These women are often diagnosed later and have poorer outcomes but we need to understand health-seeking behaviours and risk factors within these communities.

Part of this is that traditionally South Asians were thought of as hard to reach by conventional research terms rather than seldomly reached due to language, trust, lack of understanding of the culture and family structure and systematic bias due to ethnicity.

The Mission

The organisation’s mission is to work alongside community, medical and oncology professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare, and media to raise awareness and remedy inequalities in the breast cancer care of South Asians in the UK. Known barriers to care include comorbidities, language, reach, trust, religion, culture and lifestyle.

The South Asian Supernovas has been established to alleviate known barriers through research, awareness campaigns and collaborating with key stakeholders in the breast cancer space to improve the experiences of people from the South Asian community.

Having surveyed cancer services to see what aftercare is provided, the team found they did not sufficiently address important issues highlighted by patients, with NHS ‘aftercare’ varying widely. Therefore, there is a need for better aftercare for 'cancer survivors'.

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The Solution

Through their series of talks based on round table discussions, surveys, data, awareness campaigns and research they can help others to understand what they can do to improve outcomes in breast cancer in South Asians in the UK.

  • Understanding the link between metabolic and cardiovascular health and cancer in South Asians, particularly the impact on cardio-oncology.
  • Amplifying the voices of the South Asian breast cancer community ensuring that their experiences are heard and ‘actioned’.
  • Understanding the cultural, physical and psychological impacts of breast cancer within the South Asian community and how to support patients and healthcare professionals going forward.
  • Educating health care professionals on disparities that arise in breast cancer in South Asians and how these can be combatted.
  • Setting ‘Best Practice’ guidelines for HCPs and other stakeholders to work towards Creating a South Asian specific breast cancer awareness campaign.

Current and past projects

In our first year, we have created and are working on the following projects:

  • HSJ Cancer Forum – speakers on health inequalities in Cancer care in South Asians, and how this can he changed. https://cancerforum.hsj.co.uk/speakers-2023
  • South Asian breast cancer campaign – fully clothed breast cancer campaign for BCAM in multiple languages to raise awareness of self-checking and routine screening in South Asians
  • Research – understanding awareness of breast cancer and barriers to self-checking and routine screening through interviews and questionnaires to understand the South Asian experience
  • Anti-bias workshops – as DEI experts, Toral and Kreena have created a workshop to educated HCPs and organisations in cancer care including charities on systemic bias and how to create a more inclusive organisation.

Meet the Founders

Kreena Dhiman - Dhiman is an award-winning Podcaster, Writer, Speaker and Influencer committed to debunking cultural conditioning and shifting conversations so the South Asian community can thrive. As an Ambassador for Estee Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and co-founder of The Intended Parent, a support platform for families built through surrogacy, she advocates for vital causes. Kreena is currently writing her first book under Hay House’s Diverse Wisdom initiative.

Toral Shah - Shah is a Nutritional Scientist (MSc Nutr Med), and functional medicine & nutrigenomics Master practitioner, Health writer and Consultant, as well as the Founder of The Urban Kitchen. She uses evidence based science and nutrition knowledge along with lifestyle medicine to help support others to optimise their health and reduce risk of disease. She supports patients with their integrative oncology journey both one to one and through group settings, running an on demand course and educating on nutrition, lifestyle and cancer to healthcare, pharmaceutical and cancer organisations.

The Results?

Oncology Professional Care, 21-22 May 2024 at the ExCel London will host an hour long deep-dive educational session by Kreena and Toral, sharing exclusive insights from South Asian Supernovas into how the entire multidisciplinary team can collaborate to tackle inequalities along the patient pathway. 

Join us to hear more about these trailblazers and the amazing work being undertaken by the team

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