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FOR RELEASE: April 22, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Minority Cancer Awareness Week to Focus on Prevention

During National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, April 18-24, officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) want to raise the level of awareness about the importance of cancer screenings among minority populations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health, “overall trends in national health status for most racial/ethnic groups have improved, but not all groups have benefited equally.”

In Oklahoma, the age-adjusted incidence of cancer is also disproportionately distributed among minority populations, a quarter of the overall population. Hispanic/Latinos and Asian/Pacific Islanders have a higher age-adjusted incidence rate of cervical cancer while African Americans have a higher age-adjusted incidence of breast cancer and colon/rectum cancer. Native Americans living in Oklahoma have the highest age-adjusted incidence of lung and bronchus cancer.

Cancer risk is strongly associated with individual lifestyle and behaviors. "We encourage those at high risk of cancer to see their health care provider regularly. Early detection of cancer can increase the chances for survival,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

The OSDH health officials in the Chronic Disease Service of the Disease and Prevention Services encourage and recommend the following life style changes for cancer risk reduction:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Lose weight.
  • Eat at least five fruits or vegetables each day.
  • Exercise at least five days a week for 30 minutes each day.
  • Apply 15 Sun Protection Factor (SPF) or higher sunscreen.
  • Contact your healthcare provider for your individualized cancer screening guidelines.

General Cancer Screening Guidelines

Women
Age
20+ Clinical Breast self exam
50 + Colonoscopy
40 + Mammogram
21 + Pap test/Pelvic Exam

Men
Age
50 + Colonoscopy
40 + Digital rectal exam (DRE)
40 + Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test
20 + Testicular self exam

For more information about cancer disease and prevention, contact Ella Kay Slagle, Coordinator of the Comprehensive Control Program at 405-271-4072 ext 57117.

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