A new digital campaign launching this week takes an innovative approach to the tricky subject of cancer screening with Arabic audiences.
Confronted with the difficult task of raising awareness of cancer screening programs available in Australia, Cancer Council Victoria in consultation with Arabic community groups, created a comedic cartoon to address common stigmas around screening for breast, bowel and cervical cancers.
The cartoon was written and voiced by Egyptian-Arabic comedian Akmal Saleh with illustration and animation by Matt Slater.
The cartoon features Saleh admitting he does not like check-ups, whether they are for his car or his body, but he learns that people that screen for bowel, breast and cervical cancer can live longer.
“I’ve got a lot in common with my car, we’re both getting on in years, we make strange sounds that we never used to make – there’s a leak somewhere…and occasionally unexpectedly I’ll backfire, frightening passers-by,” Saleh says in the cartoon.
The campaign is striking a chord with Arabic audiences. Community Development Worker from the Arabic Welfare Inc, Simar Amad, is a breast cancer survivor and is working with Cancer Council Victoria on the project.
“There are many barriers to discussing cancer screening in the Arabic community, as cancer is very much connected to the idea of death in our culture, and illness is linked to fate. Traditionally we have been afraid to use the word ‘cancer’, so instead we used to describe it as ‘nasty disease’, which made it hard to talk about,” said Amad.