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  1. ITV Report

The restaurateur trying to help communities understand cancer

A restaurateur who was given just a year to live after being diagnosed with lung cancer is trying to help others with the illness.

Almost two years on, Saima Thompson is feeling positive and about to undergo a second round of chemotherapy.

Saima, who helps fun the family restaurant in Brockley, is trying to encourage people from the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to discuss the condition, where she initially found little understanding and communication around the subject of cancer.

There is a lack of understanding in the community of the disease, with many of the older generation offering archaic advice on how to treat cancer.

"Being south Asian, being Pakistani, those words [cancer] are quite hard because there's a lot of shame and stigma.

"Culturally, historically it's kind of 'what will people say?'"

Saima has created a group to raise awareness and is hoping to change the culture in the impacted communities.

"I've had family members tell me wear a red head scarf and eat sweet and not wash for 11 days; I've had all sorts of bizarre advice because people don't know about cancer.

"Silence is costing lives and people are dying."