Our Cancer Projects

We carry out research that aims to understand the health needs of the African and African-Caribbean community and the challenges that are faced when accessing health services.  We also carry out projects that aim to improve the health and well-being of the black community. You can view some of our previous cancer projects below.

Is a Cancer Support Group the Best Way to Support Black Cancer Patients?

The Lake Foundation ran a cancer support group for two years from 2014 to 2016. The support group was set up after establishing the need for support for black patients. Published reports from the UK’s Department of Health stated that: there was no customized support services or information for black and minority ethnic (BME) patients; the NHS takes a Eurocentric approach to cancer care which is not relevant to the needs of BME patients; the key issues around religion and culture were trivialized during patient assessments; BME cancer patients are less likely to report a positive experience with regards to the care they receive; and African Caribbean women experienced poor signposting to culturally appropriate services, particularly those related to their practical support needs. They also found that patients would prefer locally-based services and that peer support was strongly desired.

With the above in mind we set up a support group with funding from Croydon Council and Macmillan Cancer Support. From this work we learnt that whilst there is a need for support for black cancer patients, support groups may not be the most appealing method of supporting black patients. It is possible that a structured course with time for discussion and social activities would be a more effective way to support patients. We will explore this further.

You can read a summary of our cancer support  group project here 

Prostate Cancer Community Engagement and Empowerment Pilot


The Lake Foundation was awarded funding by Prostate Cancer UK to conduct a community engagement and empowerment pilot. This pilot ran from October 2014 to January 2015 and explored effective methods of reaching the black community with the key messages of prostate cancer.

We evaluated whether engaging with black churches is in reality an effective method of raising awareness of prostate cancer in the black community. Our work provided the data that informed Prostate Cancer UK’s new Faith Based Outreach Project.

Our pilot found that ultimately a successful approach to raising awareness of prostate cancer through churches requires :

  • An understanding of a church’s structure;
  • The development of a bespoke awareness programme that targets multiple departments, forums and events in a church’s calendar;
  • The development of  long term relationship with churches;
  • Flexibility;
  • Consistent engagement; and
  • Persistence.

You can read our report on this pilot: Prostate Cancer Engagement and Empowerment Pilot The Lake Foundation

An Exploration of Black British Women’s Lay Beliefs About Breast Cancer and Their Help Seeking Behaviour


This study explored the beliefs that black women hold about breast cancer and if those beliefs affect  whether they chose to visit their doctor or not.

We found that most participants had a negative, fatalistic view of breast cancer. Some did view breast cancer positively, believing that it is a disease that can be overcome successfully. When it came to awareness of symptoms, participants were fully aware that a breast lump is a symptom of breast cancer but were unaware of the other symptoms.

Overall, when it comes to seeking help, the study suggests that black women are quite proactive and there would be no delay in visiting their GP (doctor) if they noticed a breast lump; delays in visiting a GP could occur if women experience other symptoms as people are less aware of these symptoms.

We found that the following factors could delay help seeking: other priorities such as family or work commitments; language barriers; lack of access to information; age (older people are more likely to delay visiting their GP); difficulty getting appointments; cultural insensitivities of the healthcare system, inaction by GPs; and a lengthy referral process.

You can read the report here: Black_Women_Breast_Cancer_Help_Seeking_2011

African Caribbean Cancer Awareness and Outreach Community Based Assessment

Pauls Report

This assessment was conducted for Paul’s Cancer Support Centre. It explored how the centre could deliver a cancer awareness and outreach programme aimed at the African Caribbean community in Wandsworth.

After interviewing members of the African Caribbean Community it was found that there was a negative, fatalistic view of cancer which has led to the stigmatisation of the disease within this community.

We found that there is a high level of awareness that a breast lump is a symptom of breast cancer but there is a low level of awareness of the other symptoms of breast cancer, the symptoms of common cancers  such as prostate, lung and bowel cancer as well as rare cancers.

Based on our findings we put forward a set of recommendations on how to address the negative perceptions of cancer and how best to raise awareness.

View report

View presentation