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Patients join forces with NHS trust to break down language barriers and boost survival rates

Patients can now access multi-language information to give them a better understanding of the link between ovarian cancer and genetic testing which could help to boost survival rates.

Patients with doctors and nurses at an engagement event to discuss how to create multi-language information

A £100,000 charity grant awarded to the Pan-Birmingham Gynaecological Cancer Centre, run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, and the University of Cambridge, has funded the co-creation of the materials with patients.

The information, in leaflet and video format, is now available online and free for all to access.

The project, called Demonstration of Improvement for Molecular Ovarian Cancer Testing (DEMO), will help to increase the uptake in genetic testing, especially in black, asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME) where survival rates are low.

DEMO will also improve the quality of the sample taken to aid diagnosis when there is suspicion of ovarian cancer by establishing a guidance document for all healthcare professionals involved in the process.

Tarinder Chahal, a patient who helped to create the material, said: “I have met amazing people, from fellow patients to medics and it shows what a marvellous healthcare system we have in the UK.

“If my input helps one other lady then participating in this project has been worthwhile. For me it’s been a privilege and honour.”

Janos Balega, consultant gynaecological oncologist at Pan-Birmingham Gynaecological Cancer Centre, added: "The management of patients with ovarian cancer is a complex, multidisciplinary effort, including complex diagnostics, specialist cancer surgery, and genetics driven chemotherapy.

"Unfortunately, outcomes for ovarian cancer in the United Kingdom are generally poor and highly variable in different regions of the country, and we aim to take every opportunity to improve the complex management process of these patients.

"The project has provided us, clinicians with an excellent opportunity to improve the pathways."

Dr Elaine Leung, academic clinical lecturer also at the Pan-Birmingham Gynaecological Cancer Centre, said: “DEMO is an important project to address the information gap on the link between cancer and genetic testing for patients who do not speak English.

“We have worked very closely with a diverse patient group to ensure that the videos are easy to understand and are available in the languages that our different communities use. We ensured patients were involved in every step of the process, including the language used.

“It’s important women know that knowing the genetic make-up of their cancers can tailor treatment and help prolong life – we have already seen evidence of this through other studies.

“Our resources could support doctors and nurses to ensure patients with ovarian cancer receive genetic testing.”

The project has been funded by health charity Ovarian Cancer Action and is part of a wider national initiative, the IMPROVE-UK award, which aims to reduce inequality in cancer care.

The Pan-Birmingham Gynaecological Cancer Network delivers cancer care to more than two million people in the West Midlands.

The videos and leaflets can be accessed by going to

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