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FREE CANCER OUTREACH CONFERENCE TARGETS AFRICAN AMERICANS

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Focus Is Prevention, Detection, Intervention

BVN Staff Report

Cancer and how the disease disproportionately affects the African American community is the focus of the American Cancer Society’s annual free conference entitled “Living Smart Cancer Awareness: Your Community Forum on Cancer Awareness,” set to take place Sat., April 21, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Parkview Community Hospital in the Founder’s Center Daily Room, located at 3865 Jackson Street in Riverside. Attendees will get a free lunch, a goody bag and access to dozens of health and wellness professionals.

Presented by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) the event will feature a distinguished panel of physicians and lifestyle experts on colon, prostate and blood cancer prevention and early detection; the role of nutrition and genetics in prevention of cancer and the importance of clinical trials.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among African Americans. Data from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that incidence and mortality rates for all cancers combined have decreased over the last decade. Speaker Clifford Eke, M.D. president of the American Cancer Society, California Division, a surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center says advances in early detection, screening, and treatment have reduced cancer incidence and mortality, improved life expectancy, and enhanced quality of life for many cancer patients, however, when cancer incidence and mortality rates of African Americans are compared with other ethnic groups, African Americans are significantly more likely to develop cancer and, subsequently, die from their disease. “This is a decades old problem among African Americans,” said Dr. Ekes. The reasons are many to include distrust of doctors, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

“The challenge is people may hear what they are supposed to do but they just don’t do it. Our mission is to change those attitudes through education, inspiration and motivation.” Dr. Ekes, who works with cancer patients daily, says African American men had lower 5-year survival rates for lung, colon, and pancreatic cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men and are five times as likely to die from prostate cancer, as compared to the same group. Colon cancer for example can be prevented through early detection and the removal of polyps Dr. Ekes said. “But people have to take the first step and talk to their doctors, family members and friends about getting tested.”

American Cancer Society Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, American Heart Association Livestrong Foundation/Lance Armstrong, American Lung Association Stand Up To Cancer and other organizations say Californians can do even more to reduce cancer deaths: Vote for Prop 29.

Prop 29 - The California Cancer Research Act - is a qualified ballot initiative that will be placed before voters in June 2012. Through a $1 per-pack tax on cigarettes, Prop 29 delivers over $700 million every year for cancer research and to keeps kids from smoking.

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