National Minority Cancer Awareness Week Provides Opportunity to Join the Movement for a World with More Birthdays
National Minority Cancer Awareness Week is April 18-24, and the American Cancer Society invites all racial/ethnic communities to join in the fight for a world with less cancer and more birthdays (www.morebirthdays.com). As cancer death rates continue to decline, the Society wants to help racial/ethnic communities reduce the impact of cancer by: providing resources to help people stay well through prevention and early detection; providing access to information to help people get well; funding groundbreaking research to help find cures; and fighting back through public policy and community mobilization.
National Minority Cancer Awareness Week is an opportunity to continue to raise awareness of cancer prevention and early detection among minorities. About fifty percent of cancer deaths can be prevented through regularly scheduled screenings, healthy eating, regular physical activity and quitting tobacco use. However, minorities continue to have lower screening rates than whites; report less physical activity than recommended – less than the recommended 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity above usual activities on five or more days per week; and consume less fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The American Cancer Society recommends eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, choosing whole grains in preference to processed grains and limiting consumption of processed and red meats.
“The American Cancer Society wants to empower minority communities in the fight against cancer by providing information that can help prevent cancer,” said Jackie Young, PhD, Chief Staff Officer for Mission at American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific, Inc. “We encourage minority communities to join the American Cancer Society and make changes that will benefit them in the long run and save lives, including regularly scheduled screenings, eating healthy meals and exercising frequently. We also want these communities to know that we have resources available to them if they are facing a cancer diagnosis.”
Resources such as the free 24-hour National Cancer Information Center, which can be reached at 1-800-227-2345, can help answer any question about cancer and provide information on what resources exist for free or low cost cancer screenings. Minority populations across the country can access services provided by the American Cancer Society to reduce the burden of cancer in their communities, such as free transportation to and from treatment, counseling groups, and free lodging for patients who have to travel far away to receive treatment. Minority populations can also fight back against cancer by joining Relay For Life® in their communities to raise funds that support more research, and to celebrate those who have survived the disease (visit www.relayforlife.org to sign up).
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society’s advocacy affiliate, is working at the state and federal level to enact responsible, evidenced based legislation and public policies that help reduce disparities in cancer prevention and treatment, and improve access to quality, affordable care for all Americans. ACS CAN supports increased funding for programs such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which provides free or low-cost mammograms, Pap tests, and follow-up treatment for the uninsured and underinsured, including racial and ethnic minority women; and the federal Patient Navigator Program, which provides trained patient navigators in minority and other medically underserved communities to help individuals over come barriers to quality health care. More information on ACS CAN efforts can be found at www.acscan.org.