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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Black Celebrities Show How to Beat Cancer By Taking Action

Robin Roberts, Black celebrity with cancer

African Americans often have as much as twice the risk of dying from certain types of cancer, and it is often due to the lack of early detection and treatment. Over recent years, black celebrities have been openly discussing their cancer survival stories in hopes that other blacks will take their lead, get regular checkups, and get diagnosed early so they, too, can beat cancer by taking action.

Here are just 4 of those celebrities:

  • Harry Belafonte - was diagnosed with prostate cancer 20 years ago and successfully treated. Since then, he has been active in educating other men about prostrate cancer.
  • Mr. T - was diagnosed 20 years ago with a rare form of cancer called T-cell lymphoma cancer. He is now in remission and takes care of himself and encourages others to do the same.
  • Pam Grier - was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1988 and was told she would not survive past 18 months. But she is alive by fighting and taking care of her health.
  • Robin Roberts - the darling of ABC's Good Morning America was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 after a self-exam found a lump in her breast. She survived after undergoing treatment and states, “If I hadn’t been doing self-exams, I wouldn’t have known that."

For many types of cancer, including prostate cancer and melanoma, the number of people who survive has greatly improved over the years. Even for those types of cancer where survival rates are poor, the chances of surviving are better when cancer is diagnosed at an early state.

According to the American Cancer Society, even breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in women, has experienced declining death rates as a result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.

The bottom line is that African Americans can greatly improve those statistics by having regular checkups, doing self-exams, and going to the doctor as soon as anything out of the ordinary appears. Don't wait -- take action now!

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