We should all be paying attention: Cancer Awareness Week

(Para mi amiga Marisol Rosas, the bravest ‘Previvor’ and fighter I know. Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending out all our good vibes so you can be well soon. Ánimo, Te queremos mucho!!)

Cancer is that subject that you never want to deal with, the word you never want to hear, the illness that most scares us. As Woody Allen says in one of his movies, “The most beautiful words in the English language are not ‘I Love You’ but ‘It’s Benign.” (He’s right!)

This week is “National Minority Cancer Awareness Week” (NMCAW) from April 18 through April 24. The American Cancer Society is urging Hispanics and all minorities to be aware of the statistics and recommendations to prevent cancer. We like to avoid screenings and checkups, and yet they are essential, just as eating good food and exercising frequently. We need to know these things and apply them to our daily lives to prevent and fight cancer. Health is our most important possession and we must all keep doing our part to be a healthy community. Even Placido Domingo, who was recently treated for colon cancer, acknowledged that he was lucky because he was treated early for it. And now he’s back to work, as you can read in the article (here) from the LA Times.

Here is the information the American Cancer Society shares in honor of Awareness Week:

Statistics

  • Hispanics are the fastest-growing and youngest minority group in the US.  45.5 million or 15 percent of the total US population is Hispanic.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 20 percent of deaths in adults and 13 percent of deaths in children.
  • About 1 in 2 Hispanic men and 1 in 3 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
  • Cancers of the stomach, liver, and uterine cervix have the highest incidence and mortality rates for Hispanics, especially among first-generation immigrants to the U.S.

Recommendations

  • Community-level engagement to work with families to promote a healthier life-style and include nutrition and physical activity.

-increasing access to healthy foods in schools, work and local eateries

-provide safe, enjoyable spaces for physical activity

-increase access to preventive services such as screenings

  • The American Cancer Society recommends regular screenings to improve the chances of a cure for some cancers by detecting it at an early stage.

-For women in their 20’s and 30’s, Clinical Breast Exam are recommended, preferably at least every three years; Women 40 and older should get mammograms annually.

-Colorectal screening is recommended for men and women starting at age at the age of 50

-Men should discuss prostate cancer screenings with their doctors to determine what level of screening is appropriate.

-Cervical cancer screening should be done every year.

  • Access the American Cancer Society website for more information, resources, services and programs at www.cancer.org/espanol or call toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for information in English and Spanish – 1-800-227-2345.