In April, which is National Minority Health Month, and all year long, minorities, or multicultural populations, in the U.S. (and also others), need to know a variety of early possible signs of cancer, especially since the three leading causes of death in the U.S., in order, are heart disease, cancer and stroke. They need to know because:
(a) cancer is often preventable, and
(b) even when when cancer is not preventable, or prevented, the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances of cure, or control.
Five (5) Cancers Targeted by Health Power
Health Power has targeted the following five (5) cancers for prevention and early detection because they have an excess negative effect on minorities:
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Colorectal (or colon) Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
Key Reasons These 5 Cancers Have a Greater Negative Effect on Minorities
1. Although cancer of the cervix, colon and lung are largely preventable, they often occur in association with high risk lifestyles, and /or health practices;
2. Diagnosis, and thus treatment, is often delayed because of lack of knowledge, or denial, of early warning signals; and
3. As a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment, many minorities who develop cancer are more likely to experience (a) cancer spread, or metastasis, and (b) earlier, or premature,
death than non-minorities.
Tips for the Prevention and Early Detection of the 5 Health Power Targeted Cancers
– Since mortality rates (death rates) from breast cancer are generally much higher in minority women than non-minority women, Health Power and the American Cancer Society recommend that they begin having annual mammograms at age 40.
– Many breast lumps are not cancer, but all breast lumps need to be checked out by a doctor in case one happens to be early cancer, especially since many breast lumps that have early cancer can be removed (lumpectomy) without the necessity of mastectomy (breast removal).
– Occurs more often in women who began having unprotected and frequent vaginal sex in their teens or early twenties.
– Also occurs more frequently in women who have had repeated sexually transmitted disease (STD) infections.
– Can usually be prevented in women who have routine Pap smears as recommended.
– Occurs often in women who have been either untreated, or incompletely treated forhuman papilloma virus (HPV infection.
– In most cases, lung cancer results from cigarette smoking, which we can all agree is preventable. Further, it is the leading practice or lifestyle associated with preventable death.
– Occurs in more African American men than in any other group of men in the U.S. Therefore, they should begin having an annual rectal examination every year, beginning at age 40, since rectal exams play a key role in the early diagnosis of prostate cancer, when many can be cured.
– Since enlarged prostate often develops in men over 60 years of age, and has symptoms, especially of urinary difficulty, that are almost the same as the symptoms of prostate cancer, all men, regardless of race or ethnicity, should begin having an annual rectal examination after age 50.
The cancer warning signals below are provided by Health Power because cancer can so often be prevented, cured, or controlled with early diagnosis and treatment..
12 Key Cancer Warning Signals of Cancer:
Health Power recommends that all persons, especially minorities/multicultural populations, learn the key cancer warning signals below, which were originally published by the American Cancer Society, a Health Power “Cross-linked Web Partner for Minority Health”. And remember that if either of them is experienced, the affected person should see their, or a, physician or other qualified health professional, without delay.
- Change in bowel habit
- Change in bladder habit
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- Unusual bleeding
- An unusual discharge
- Thickening in the breast
- A lump in the breast, or elsewhere in the body
- A discharge or bleeding from a breast nipple
- Prolonged or repeated indigestion
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Obvious change in a wart or mole
- Nagging cough or hoarseness
Much additional information for the prevention and control of cancer and the other “Major Killers and Disablers” targeted by Health Power can be found on its website, at www.healthpowerforminorities.com. Remember to
Stand Up For Your Health® because Knowledge + Action = Power®!
By Norma J. Goodwin, M.D.
Founder and President, Health Power
Questions for you:
1. Which of the preventable cancers above would you be most concerned about preventing, and why?
2. Which of the cancers above do you think is most likely to run in families, and do you know your family history related to cancer?