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Women from ethnic minority backgrounds with a personal connection to breast cancer are being asked to join a new group to support a study aiming to improve patients’ experiences.

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK aims to shed light on the variation in breast cancer in different ethnic minority groups.

Dr Toral Gathani, an academic and consultant cancer surgeon at the University of Oxford, is leading the investigation into why women from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to get breast cancer, but why it is more likely to be a more aggressive form of the disease when they do.

Now, women aged 25 years or older living in the UK who are from African, Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani backgrounds are invited to support the research team in aspects of the study design. These might be women who’ve had breast cancer or simply have an interest in the disease.

 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, but analysis of national data has shown women from Black Caribbean and Black-African backgrounds are significantly more likely to have more advanced disease at diagnosis than White British women.

Additionally, this analysis which studied women aged 30-70 in England using national data, has shown that those from certain ethnic minority backgrounds had significantly greater odds of less favourable tumour characteristics compared to White women, and that these differences are more marked in Black compared to Asian groups.

Dr Gathani’s three-year project will use existing data from large national studies and the National Cancer Registry Service in England to look at breast cancer incidence rates and how breast cancer risk factors such as weight, alcohol intake and reproductive factors, may differ in different ethnic groups.

Volunteers are sought to join a patient and public involvement group to help highlight the issues, questions or opportunities that are important to patients, carers and their communities.

Cancer Research UK has funded the project with £101,000 for the first year with future funding planned for a further two years.

The results will help establish a better understanding of breast cancer for women with an ethnic minority background.


Dr Toral Gathani, Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and Consultant Surgeon, said: 


“People with a lived experience of breast cancer have a unique and valuable viewpoint that can help us develop research that is relevant to those most affected by cancer. 

“Giving your valuable time will help us ensure that we support research that is grounded in patient and public needs and experiences.”

For, those taking part, activities may involve attending meetings, in-person or online, taking part in discussions which will shape how the research is designed, providing feedback on documents, or helping to design materials such as posters and videos to raise awareness and ensure messaging is clear and relevant.


If you would like to find out more information please email or

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