Since 1987, the third week in April has been designated by the the U.S. House of Representatives as National Minority Cancer Awareness Week. The purpose of this designation has been to increase public awareness of how cancer severely impacts minorities and people who are economically disadvantaged.
During this week, health care providers will dispurse educational information on how various forms of cancer put specific segments of the population at greater risk. The idea is to encourage these segments to pay closer attention to areas of health concerns that might pertain to them. This knowledge, along with early testing and diagnosis, is key to increasing the survival rate.
Here are some of the statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control regarding cancer and how it affects specific groups of the population.
- Colon cancer death rates are about 40% higher for blacks than whites
- Korean men have the highest rates of stomach cancer
- Asian American women have the highest death rate from cancer since 1980
- Liver cancer is up to 11.3 times higher for Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese populations than for white Americans
- American Indians, followed by Filipinos, have the lowest survival rate for colon and rectal cancer
- Vietnamese men have the highest rates of liver cancer
- Black women have the highest breast cancer death rates of all racial and ethnic groups and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women
Every year, organizations such as the American Cancer Society publish information that can help people take advantage of programs that will help them reduce the risk of cancer. Recommendations include screening tests for colon, breast, prostate, cervical and lung cancer, quit smoking programs, and information on eating, exercise and weight control. In addition, they are working towards including more minority groups in cancer prevention studies. All these programs and information are efforts to help minorities decrease the risks of cancer and increase the rates of survival.
More information can be obtained from your primary physician, local clinic, local American Cancer Society, or your city's health department.