Continued from Talking about Cancer – 6.10.2007.1 Part 1…
Why is early detection so critical?
African American women, who have much lower ovarian cancer incidence rates than Caucasian women, are less likely than their Caucasian counterparts to survive five or more years with this disease, regardless of the stage at diagnosis.
African American women are more commonly diagnosed with widespread and therefore advanced stage, ovarian masses than Caucasian women.
African American, Hawaiian, and Alaskan native women have overall cancer mortality rates that are at least 40% higher than other minority populations.
Despite an overall decline in cancer deaths for all Americans regardless of race, 36% more black men and 17% more black women are dying from cancer than their white counterparts, finds a new study by Pfizer Inc and the National Medical Association. The study covered the period of 1990 to 2003.
For all five cancers examined – cancers of the prostate, colon and rectum, lung and bronchus, breast and uterine cervix – Racial Differences in Cancer found that blacks have higher death rates, as well as lower five-year survival rates. From 1990 to 2002, the gap between the races in deaths from breast cancer and colorectal cancer has grown, from a 14% greater rate of deaths from breast cancer for black women in 1990 to a 36% greater rate of deaths in 2002. For colorectal cancer, in 1990, blacks had a 24% higher death rate compared to a 40% higher death rate in 2002.
And in a previous post on Breast Cancer I noted:
I think this says why without any need for further explanation from me.
Early and consistent diagnosis is important. Knowing the risk factors is vital. Yet, without doctors and medical institutions doing their part in identifying early stages of these diseases people will suffer and die for no reason. Not doing their job is not a reason for anyone to be inflicted with the trauma these diseases bring.
I am angered by the lack of attention I have been made aware of. The ‘sudden’ discovery of tumors of such sizes is insulting. The fact that African Americans may have lower incidence rates is not a reason to fail to pay attention to the exams being done.
I can say that I know a bit more about colon cancer in African Americans than my current doctor. When I had my last physical in February, we discussed the subject and he had to do research on the subject to get up to date. Not very inspiring I must say. It’s also odd since I had a previous doctor that was hyper-sensitive on the subject. Both work for the same hospital and are in the same area with similar client bases.
Suffice to say that just relying on your doctor or medical institution is not enough. Don’t wait to find out when the problem is advanced. Ask questions. Force your doctor to give you exams that you should get, based on age and risk. Make sure they know what they are talking about. Give yourself a fighting chance.
Concluded in Part 3…