African Americans have the highest cancer-related death rate and shortest survival time compared to any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. The good news is that there are things you can do about it! High rates of cancer can be decreased through prevention. First off, you can lead a healthier lifestyle. Important ways to reduce your risk of cancer include:
- Quit or don't start smoking. Cigarette smoking alone is the direct cause of about 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. and is the indirect cause of even more cancer deaths. Smoking adds to lung cancer as well as cancer of the lips, nose, pancreas, stomach, and more. Levels and death rates for lung cancer are higher among African American men than white men because their smoking rates are higher, so it is important not to start smoking and stop ASAP.
- Eat right
- Be active
- Keep a healthy weight
Doing all these things has the fringe benefit of lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes!
The number of Americans who died from cancer has gone down for a second year in a row, but African Americans are still 21 percent more likely to die from cancer than white Americans. Racial differences for cancer death rates have decreased over the last decade, yet a 2008 report released by the American Cancer Society reported that the death rate was 35 percent higher for black men and 18 percent higher for black women than for white American men and women. The reasons for the differences in cancer death rates and survival time have been tied to many different forms of racial discrimination, such as not having access to health care.
What you can do to reverse these statistics:
- Lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Get screened regularly. Early detection and treatment are two of the most important things you can do to prevent and avoid cancer. You should get screened for some types of cancer even if you have no cancer symptoms. You can even get screened at some places in Harlem for free! Check out the Breast Examination Center of Harlem and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in upper Manhattan for information about free screenings.
- Be sure to look at the many articles on www.GetHealthyHarlem.org to learn different ways to live healthier!