Friday, 8 November 2013

Documentary by Calgary Women about Breast Cancer Stigma in Ethnic Communities!

"Beyond the Silence" is a documentary by Asha and Roda, two girls in their twenties from Calgary about the stigma surrounding breast cancer in ethnic communities in Calgary (and in Canada). This disease, they postulate, is thought to be a "white woman disease" by many ethnic women. They set to shed light on the issue in this short documentary film. While we have missed watching the screening in Edmonton on August 17, we will still try to watch a version of it and probably if possible put it up on our media. For now we just of sharing their story and the trailer.


Source of the republished story is Metro News:

"It’s considered by many to be a white woman’s disease. Even those members of Alberta’s ethnic communities that have been diagnosed with breast cancer avoid discussing their struggles in public.

According to Asha and Roda Siad’s mother, who is Somali, breast cancer is something that 'doesn’t happen to our people.' She uttered those words in December, moments after ripping up a mammogram referral sheet supplied by her doctor.

But Asha and Roda, both in their 20s and from Calgary, quickly found very little research had been done on the prevalence of the disease from race to race. Yet, a deep-rooted stigma remains.

'People in these ethnic communities not only don’t seek out help, they aren’t even comfortable talking about it,' Roda said.

The Siad sisters went to work on a short documentary on the topic, interviewing Alberta women from various African, Asian and Latin American communities. But even turning the concept into a finished product came with repeated challenges. One woman initially agreed to discuss her cancer, but later refused after receiving a call from family in Pakistan claiming such a public revelation would bring great shame. Another woman from Ethiopia backed out of an on-camera interview last-minute amid fears her parents would see it.
'She said, ‘They don’t know I have breast cancer and they won’t know until I’m dead,’ ' Asha recalled.

The sisters believe the source of the stigma lies in in the advertisements and various breast-cancer causes, which they say are heavily centred around white women. They hope their final product, Beyond The Silence, which screens for the first time in Calgary Friday night, can spur some deeper thinking around breast-cancer perceptions and campaigns aimed at saving lives.

'To them (ethnic women), even the colour pink is just a colour . . . we need to change some of that thinking,' Asha said.

Roda added, 'We’re not saying we’re solving a problem, we’re just saying let’s open up a discussion. Let’s show these women that there are women who have come forward and talked about it, and we’re hoping to encourage more.'"

Metro News:

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