It’s National Minority Cancer Awareness Week (did you know that? Neither did I until yesterday). What is that? National Minority Cancer Awareness Week promotes increased awareness of prevention and treatment among those segments of the populations that are at greater risk of developing cancer. I don’t know one family that hasn’t been affected by cancer somewhere along the way. Cancer has robbed so many people of a chance to see their golden years including my father-in-law whom I never got a chance to meet thanks to colon cancer. I say robbed because that’s exactly how you feel when you have ‘the talk’ with the doctor. It’s like someone sneaked into your home and stole from you. You’re left asking “How did this happen? What did I miss? Why didn’t I ________? (fill in the blank)”. Well here’s an excellent chance to stop that robbed feeling from affecting someone else.
African-Americans have the highest overall age-adjusted cancer incidence and mortality rates of any population group in the United States. It’s so very serious. We are dying and in many cases we are dying from a preventable cause. I would be kicking myself furiously if I knew I had a cancer that could have been caught and treated if I had gone to the doctor. As a health writer who has written quite a few articles about cancer, I know there are barriers to getting help. There are many factors (not excuses) that prevent some African-Americans from getting checked out including lack of health insurance, limited access to physicians, transportation, childcare, health illiteracy, and health myths that plague our community relentlessly. We have to stop that right now.
According to the American Cancer Society, 63,000 African-Americans died from cancer in 2009 alone. No other racial group has that high of a mortality rate. Despite this fact, this group remains underrepresented in cancer prevention and control research studies, primarily because most recruitment strategies result in limited access to African-American populations. Well today’s a new day and the ACS is trying to change that. They are looking for African-Americans to participate in the CPS-3 study. What does participation mean? It means you fill out a survey, sign a consent form, provide some physical measurements such as waist size, blood pressure, weight, etc., and give a blood sample. From there you will be enrolled for the next 20 years (Yeah I know. My eyes kinda bugged out too at the sight of a 20 year commitment. But these kind of studies really do take time if you want reliable results.) I don’t know about you but I am so tired of my people being the best of the worst in the health arena.
Ok. Have I piqued your interest a little? I hope so. I believe in this kind of study so much that I am blogging about it without any incentive at all. No one contacted me about this. No one offered me any money to mention it (although I wouldn’t refuse an in-kind donation if you wish to make one). The ACS doesn’t know I’m talking about it nor does the Howard County Health Department. That’s how much I care about this y’all. We are blessed to live in an area where we can participate in a study of this magnitude. We can be proactive instead of reactive about cancer for a change. It’s crunch time and I want my people to be in on it. If you want more information, click here to read it for yourself. Click here to read and download the flyer.
Thanks for reading! If you like this post, share it!
Update: The news isn’t all bad regarding African-Americans. I just came across this gem of a report today about the lower number of deaths among Blacks. Click here to read.