Health has always been an issue close to my heart. Growing up, I had my heart set on becoming a doctor because I’ve always believed that if you don’t have your health, everything else suffers. In college, however, I decided that being healthy starts before the treatment process. Every day that we wake up, there are things that we can do to take steps to being as healthy as we can be. So, I decided to study marketing and use those communication skills to promote healthy behaviors and empower others to take an active role in their health. And, as a member of the American Cancer Society’s Blogger Advisory Council, I’m committed to using my online presence to do just that.
This week marks National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, and recognizing this issue is very important to me. As an African-American, I was blown away to learn that we have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most cancers. National Minority Cancer Awareness Week is about recognizing the health disparities that exist within our communities and encouraging action to help shrink the gap. About fifty percent of cancer deaths can be prevented through regularly scheduled screenings, healthy eating, regular physical activity and quitting tobacco use. However, minorities continue to have lower screening rates than whites; report less physical activity than recommended, and consume less fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
These simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards ensuring that we are around to see more birthdays for ourselves and those that we love. I’m dedicating this post to my maternal grandmother, maternal great-aunt, maternal great uncle, maternal great-cousin, paternal great-grandfather, and paternal (step) grandfather. They passed away due to cancer and build a strong case for why I have to take the necessary steps to be as healthy as I possibly can. I’ll admit that I don’t know all the facts and haven’t been as healthy as I should be, but I’m committed to making that change. This week, I’m setting up appointments ranging from a general checkup to screenings necessary for my health and I encourage you to do the same.
The ACS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-227-2345 to help answer any questions about cancer and provide information on what resources exist for free or low cost cancer screenings. Get the facts, understand your medical history, and commit to your health! Some might say that it’s easier said than done, but when has that ever stopped us?
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, please visit cancer.org.