The mortality rate among African-Americans is higher than that of any other racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Office of Minority Health. In an effort to address those issues, next year, a new cancer coalition will try to bridge that racial gap and provide African-Americans with support as they go through diagnosis and treatment.
One of the goals of the National African-American Cancer Coalition, a national nonprofit based in Quincy, Massachusetts, is to overcome hurdles that have left some African-Americans distrustful of the medical system, and to ensure to patients “that we understand the devastation that cancer can bring to families,” Executive Director Natalie Wimberly told The Boston Globe.
Individuals and their families will have access to a staff of patient advocates, health care professionals, mental health specialists, peer support groups and other resources. In addition, a patient advocate hotline will be established for patients to call when they need support. The NAACC also plans to launch cancer screening and prevention programs through churches, schools and community organizations. Beginning Jan. 2, individuals looking for support can call the group’s headquarters at 888-688-0074.
In major cancers, there are many disparities between Black and white patients. Prostate cancer is 2.5 times more likely to kill Black men than whites, and while Black women were 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they were almost 40 percent more likely to die from the disease than white women, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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