It’s important to know possible early signs of cancer because cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. Therefore:
- Listen to your body talk if you have an early warning sign of cancer, and
- See your doctor at once if you develop one of these signs because:
– – Cancer is often preventable, and – – Even when cancer is not preventable, the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances of cure, or control!
Following are 5 cancers that either occur more often in minorities/people of color than in non-minorities, or are more likely to result in unnecessary illness, and/or early (premature) death:
- Breast Cancer – usually, but not always, in women, and often curable when detected early. Early detection is often through breast self-examination (BSE) or mammography. Although there have been some recommendations that women don’t need to begin having mammograms until they are 50 years old, Health Power and the American Cancer Society recommend that minority/multicultural women begin having mammograms at age 40.
- Cervical Cancer – occurs more often in women who began having unprotected and frequent vaginal sex in their teens or early twenties, have not had Pap smears as recommended, and/or have been untreated or poorly treated for human papilloma virus (HPV) infection.
- Colorectal Cancer – usually preventable if colon polyps are detected early and removed.
- Lung Cancer – which in most cases develops from cigarette smoking, which we can all agree is preventable. Also, it causes other conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD (usually emphysema or chronic bronchitis). Sometimes cancer of the mouth and throat also result from cigarette smoking.
- Prostate Cancer – occurs in more African American men than any other group of men in the U.S. This means that African American men should begin having an annual rectal examination every year, beginning at age 40.
Because cancer can often be cured or controlled with early diagnosis, following is a list of signs for which you should “Listen to Your Body Talk”, and take action:
Key Warning Signals of Possible Cancer:
Change in bowel habit
Change in bladder habit
A sore that doesn’t heal
Thickening in the breast or elsewhere
Lump in the breast or elsewhere
Prolonged or repeated indigestion
Difficulty in swallowing
Obvious change in a wart or mole
Nagging cough or hoarseness
Source of Key Warning Signals List: Out-of-print prior American Cancer Society brochure
Remember the Health Power Motto, or Tagline: Knowledge + Action = Power!®