Cancer affects each culture, population and minority group differently across the globe. This happens because of a multitude of reasons that affect how each culture and creed live, and in some cases, where they live. One might think that only third-world countries struggle with poverty and the lack of health care. The truth is that this is a struggle in almost every country in every corner of the world. Lack of health coverage, access to doctors and specialists, or the general lack of funding to afford the cost of care are just some of the reasons why many minorities do not seek out the proper health care. In the United States, African Americans, Latino, and Hispanics, as well as the Burmese population all have much higher rates of death from cancer.
In 2018, over 200,000 new cancer cases diagnosed among African Americans. The most common types of cancer to affect African Americans are prostate, lung, colon, and rectum for men, and breast, lung, colon, and rectum for women. African Americans are still at the highest level for death rate and shortest survival times of any racial or ethnic creed in the United States in regard to any type of cancer in the body. This is due to the lack of medical care, understanding of cancer itself, and accessibility to services. This includes having all pre-screening tests and services not being covered by insurance or not offered as a covered service at all.
For Latinos and Hispanics, cancer is the leading cause of death, accounting for over twenty-one percent of deaths. Hispanics have higher risk factors for cancers that stem from infectious agents like liver, stomach or cervical cancer.
The American Cancer Society works closely with these populations and funds special grants that focus on people with cancer disparities and their treatment. Within this setup, there are specific doctors and medical professionals working towards specific issues. They are currently working towards ensuring all people have access to all of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act because those who do have this insurance are still not able to use much of the benefit due to lack of care accessibility. Another professional has begun grant research on educating doctors to help to educate minority doctors and those stationed in areas where there is a heavy minority culture to better educate their patients on medical care and follow through. These disparities grant and education programs are designed to help all minority populations seek and receive the health care they deserve.
The ACS also offers the CHANGE program, which stands for the Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity. This system helps to fund and promote health equity, access and navigation to screening resources within underserved communities. Since 2011 when this program was born, over three-hundred-fifty grants have been given! These grants were given to those representing community health centers, community-based organizations, academic medical centers, breast and cervical early detection programs, Indian health-based services and faith-based organizations (ACS).
Who helps minorities fight for healthcare and proper care and treatment with cancer?
There are numerous groups of people who can help minorities get and receive the care that they need. The fight against cancer cannot be won alone! This fight requires family, friends, and a team of supporters and medical care professionals to help guide you on this journey. Medical health care professionals, doctors, and patient advocates can all help to assist you with your medical needs. Religious organizations, community centers, and support groups, and many social and civic organizations also play a role in this very important cause. Reach out to your local health department for information about organizations that can help if you need it.
How can I help bring awareness to Minority Cancer Awareness month?
It is so simple! By utilizing social media and other media outlets, many organizations are hoping to educate and empower many minorities about their deserved health care and how to access all benefits. The George Washington Cancer Institute suggests making one social media post per day. These are their suggested posts from 2016:
Consider following this format and using the hashtag #NMHM19. These basic facts and statistics can truly help to educate the population and bring more medical care where it is needed!
What are some groups that support Minority Cancer Awareness Month?
These groups all offer different types of information and services pertaining to Minority Cancer Awareness month!
- The African American Breast Cancer Alliance (AABCA) facilitates peer support for African Americans diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at any time in their lives. Their programs include support groups, educational resources, and retreats.
- Black Women’s Health Imperative identifies the most pressing health issues that affect the nation’s 21 million Black women and girls, and invest in strategies, partners and organizations that ensure Black women live longer, healthier more prosperous lives.
- Latinas Contra Cancer provides cancer health education, patient navigation and psychosocial family support group services focused on underserved, low income and Spanish-speaking women.
- Malecare is a support and advocacy organization focusing on the needs of male cancer survivors. They are known for their men’s health programs for underserved populations, including African-American, GBT and Native American male cancer survivors.
- The Mautner Project provides direct client services to LGBTQ people with cancer.
- The National LGBT Cancer Network works to improve the lives of LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk through education, training, and advocacy. Services include online support groups and a directory of LGBT-friendly cancer treatment facilities.
- The National LGBT Cancer Project is a support and advocacy organization focusing on the needs of LGBT cancer survivors. Their services include peer to peer support, patient navigation, education, and advocacy.
- Nueva Vida informs, supports and empowers Latina families in the Washington, DC, Richmond, VA, and Baltimore, MD, metropolitan areas whose lives are affected by cancer. Services include patient navigation, individual therapy, support groups, and peer-counseling.
- Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) offers supportive services and consumer resources for LGBT older adults and their caregivers.
Sisters Network Inc. provides financial assistance and educational resources for African Americans with breast cancer.
Reclaiming Intimacy Through HOPE
George Washington Cancer Institute: https://smhs.gwu.edu/cancercontroltap/sites/cancercontroltap/files/Minority%20Cancer%20Awareness%20Week%20Social%20Media%20Toolkit%20FINAL.pdf