Equal access to cancer support for Deaf people in Wales

Dear Editor,

Being diagnosed with cancer can be a frightening experience, but for many Deaf people, living with cancer can have additional challenges.

The pandemic highlighted a number of barriers to accessing cancer information and support for the Deaf community. This included lack of interpreters at some medical appointments and a shortage of cancer information in British Sign Language (BSL).

There are 11 million people in the UK who are Deaf or hard of hearing and one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. So it is simply unacceptable that Deaf people do not have equal access to vital support.

That’s why Macmillan Cancer Support and Self Help UK have joined forces to improve support for Deaf people living with cancer in Wales.

The Macmillan Deaf Cancer Support Project will offer virtual one-on-one emotional and practical support in British Sign Language (BSL) through trained Deaf volunteers by videocall, email and WhatsApp. The two-year pilot will also support carers, including Deaf people who are supporting a hearing person with cancer.

This virtual project will help to empower Deaf people by enabling them to share their experiences and support each other by creating and supporting new and existing Deaf peer support groups.

No one should have to fight to access cancer information and support and we will do whatever it takes to be there for everyone living with cancer.

To find out more about the new project and access cancer support in BSL visit www.selfhelp.org.uk/deafcancersupport

Richard Pugh

Head of Partnerships – Wales

Macmillan Cancer Support


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