Memorandum submitted by Cancer Black Care
Cancer Black Care Oral Evidence presentation
to the Science and Technology Committee at the House of Commons
on the 21 June 2000, by Mr Frank Chinegwundoh, Consultant Urologist
at St Barts Hospital, and Chairman of Cancer Black Care, through
Isaac Dweben, Chief Executive of Cancer Black Care.
I apologise for not appearing in person before
you. I am at the British Association of Urologists' annual meeting
in Birmingham. As you may be aware, NHS consultants are required
to achieve a requisite number of education "credits"
which will go towards revalidation. I have therefore asked Isaac
Dweben, Chief Executive of Cancer Black Care to deliver my address.
Cancer Black Care aims to address the cultural
and emotional needs of people affected by cancer as well as their
carers, families and friends. We intend to achieve this by leading
and influencing educational programmes relating to cancer prevention,
treatment and palliative care and through discussion, debate and
advocacy in relation to issues concerned with quality of life
of those undergoing or contemplating treatment. By doing so, we
hope to reduce the stigma and fear often associated with cancer.
Unpublished research done by me at Barts hospital
reveals that there is a high incidence of prostate cancer in black
Research evidence by Professor Irene Higginson
called "Care in their last year of lifeA comparison
of the experience of the first generation black Caribbeans with
the local white population in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham"
reveals that black cancer patients do not receive fair and equal
I am very concerned about the difficulty in
getting funding for research into prostate cancer and in particular
the link between race and prostate cancer. I speak in my capacity
as a NHS Consultant, a Senior Lecturer with a higher research
degree and as Chairperson of Cancer Black Care. I and others have
put together proposals over the past four years all of which have
not been funded. For example:
1996: Two submissions to Veena Bahl,
Advisor on ethnic minority health, Department of Health, on awareness
of prostate disorders in African-Caribbean men. Not Funded.
1997: The impact of screening for
prostate cancer in East London. Submitted to NHS Executive North
Thames Research and Developmentie A bid for improving health
among ethnic minority populations. Not Funded.
1998: Beliefs and attitudes of African
Caribbean men relating to prostate cancer. Bid submitted to the
National Lotteries Charities Board, Health and Social Research
programme theme. Not Funded.
1998: The 5-alpha reductase gene
and its relationship to prostate cancer. Submitted to The Royal
College of Surgeons of England. Not Funded
1999: Prostate Cancer amongst African
Caribbean men in the UK. Comparative study of incidence, clinical
presentation and access to health care. Submitted to NHS Executive
South WestResearch and Development Directorate. A multicentre
study with centres across London and Bristol. Not Funded.
All the above applications involved at least
one academic institution with good research records. The last
application involved urologists from across London and Bristol
and epidemiologists. We are bound by our interest in the ethnic
differences in prostate cancer. A tremendous amount of time goes
into these applications. With one exception, there was no feedback.
I feel that proper feedback is the least that the awarding body
can do. "We are sorry that, there were so many applications
for limited funds and you were unsuccessful", is wholly inadequate.
It would appear that without a "proven
track record" and publication in the area of interest, funding
will not be forthcoming. Yet how does one acquire a track record
without funding. It is difficult not to draw the conclusions that
funding committees fund those whom they know and secondly prostate
cancer is not a "sexy" subject for funding and adding
an ethnic dimension to prostate cancer . . . Well I will leave
it at that.
We proposed that the committee should fund some
themes of research in cancer care amongst the black and ethnic
minority community and that Cancer Black Care should play a leading
role in this research drives.