North East London Health and Care Partnership logo

Community campaign shines spotlight on one of north east London’s most common types of cancer

Volunteers in north east London are helping to save lives from womb cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women[1]. This is through a unique campaign which is designed to raise awareness of its signs and symptoms, in particular that bleeding after the menopause is not normal. It also highlights the importance of getting checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

‘You Need to Know’ launches today, 31 January 2023, and is being delivered by the North East London Cancer Alliance in partnership with the Eve Appeal (a leading UK charity raising awareness of, and funding research for, gynaecological cancers).

The campaign especially reaches out to women from Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian communities in Barking and Dagenham, the City of London, Hackney, Havering, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest, where the impact of womb cancer from a late-stage diagnosis is greater.

In the UK, more than 9,000 people are diagnosed with womb cancer each year and cases are rising[2]. If found at an early stage, however, treatment is much more likely to be effective. Spotting signs and symptoms early and getting them checked is key.

As well as bleeding after the menopause, symptoms include bleeding after sex; ‘blood-stained’ vaginal discharge which can be pink, red or brown; bleeding between your periods (before the menopause); or periods that are heavier than normal for you (before the menopause).

Alex Lawrence, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “If you have bleeding after the menopause then see your doctor straight away. It’s unlikely to be anything serious. If we do find cancer then the earlier it’s treated, the more successful treatment is.”

What makes this campaign different is that it has been designed by members of the community themselves. The volunteers have taken part in focus groups, appear in posters, marketing materials and on social media, and have been instrumental in getting the messaging right so that it will have a positive impact on our local communities.

Phayza Fudlalla, one of the volunteers involved from the start, said “The campaign touched my heart because I would like to see some changes and increase awareness of womb cancer.  I have a family member affected by womb cancer and so this is really important to me.

“I would like to see more women approaching their GP immediately if they experience any of the symptoms.  From my own experience, language and cultural barriers stop women in my community from approaching their GP.”

The campaign also features artwork created by three artists local to north east London who have personal connections to the communities the campaign aims to reach. Each piece of unique artwork was developed to complement one of the campaign photos and reflect womanhood and empowerment.

Caroline Cook, Early Diagnosis Programme lead for the North East London Cancer Alliance, said: “For too long, womb cancer has been diagnosed too late as women are not coming forward with their symptoms, and we want to change this. We hope this campaign – designed by the very people we are trying to reach out to – will encourage more women to get checked sooner which will help save lives.”

Athena Lamnisos, CEO, The Eve Appeal, said: “Womb cancer presents with some very literal ‘red-flag symptoms’, yet many aren’t aware that abnormal bleeding can be a sign of cancer. This campaign is brilliant at speaking from local people to local people to spread the word – get bleeding checked! Unfortunately in the UK, Black women are more likely to develop womb cancer, and Black and Asian women are more likely to get diagnosed at a later stage and therefore have worse outcomes. So we’re spreading the message to try and change this, because You Need To Know.”

[1] Cancer Research UK. Uterine Cancer Incidence.

[2] Cancer Research UK. Uterine Cancer Incidence.