Minorities disproportionately impacted by cancer in Michigan

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email

LANSING Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and African Americans disproportionately have the highest death rate for any racial and ethnic group.

Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Community Health are recognizing National Minority Cancer Awareness Week in Michigan, April 14-20, to help raise awareness and reduce cancer disparities.

In 2010, the breast cancer death rate for African American females was 33.7, compared to 22.2 deaths per 100,000 for white women.

That same year, cervical cancer death rates for African American women (3.7 per 100,000 women) were almost double the death rate for white women (2.0 per 100,000 women).

The highest death rates for both colorectal and lung cancer are found in African American men, and the prostate cancer death rate for African Americans in 2010 was almost two and a half times higher than for whites.

“It’s vital that all people recognize the fact they need to be screened or tested for cancer," said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Examiner for the MDCH. "Screening tests exist for a number of cancers including breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer. People need to talk with their doctor about being screened and also discuss any family history of cancer that may put them at higher risk.”

MDCH is also reminding the public that you can reduce the risk of your kids getting some types of cancer later in life through preventative measures.

The HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine, most effective when given at age 11-12 in boys and girls but can be given through age 26, is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can prevent many cancers in both women and men later in life.

Additionally, low income Michigan residents can now apply for the Healthy Michigan Plan.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans including the Healthy Michigan Plan cover recommended preventive services including testing for different cancers at no cost to the patient.

For more information about cancer-prevention resources, visit www.michigan.gov/cancer.

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