Body Cancer

5 Most Common Cancers Affecting Blacks and Prevention

Written by Ifeanyi Paschal

If your body begins to grow abnormal cells, those cells spread and annihilate your body tissue, the chances are you have cancer. Once you have the medical condition, it could further spread to other parts of your body, affecting the bones, liver, and lungs. Most times, cancerous cells block the body’s channels and stop some tissues or organs from functioning optimally. So far, the disease has 14 different types. Its symptoms depend on the type and the affected part of the body. Concerning racial impact, cancer, irrespective of race, affects all people. However, over the years, studies indicate that some cancer types are more prevalent in the Black community than other racial communities. In this article, I will review the top 5 cancer types affecting Black people and how to prevent them.

5 Most Common Cancer Types Affecting Black People

Of the 14 cancer types, these are the 5 most common ones affecting our community:

  1. Prostate Cancer: Common among males, prostate cancer is the name given to the cancer that occurs in the prostate. It develops from the prostate gland, a walnut-shaped gland that sits between the bladder and the penis, which produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports the sperm. Prostate cancer accounts for 37% of cancer cases among Black men. On the other hand, its survival rate among Black men in its advanced stage is 30%.
  2. Breast Cancer: Much as breast cancer is rare among Black men (less than 1%), it is prevalent among Black women. In fact, as of 2019, it became the leading cause of cancer deaths among Black females. Several studies have shown that unlike other races, 40% of Black women diagnosed with breast cancer are less likely to live more than five years. Nonetheless, the survival rate among Black women is 82% while that of their White counterparts is 92%.
  3. Colorectal Cancer: This happens when you experience an abnormal growth of cells around the large intestine (colon). Much as colorectal cancer affects people of all age brackets, it is common among older adults. In one 2022 report, clinical researchers disclosed that colorectal cancer affects Black people more than any other ethnic groups in the United States. The study also stated that we are on average about 20% more likely to develop the condition and about 40% more likely to die from it than other racial groups. As for its survival rate, Blacks account for 51%, while our White counterparts have 61%.
  4. Lung Cancer: As you know, lungs are two spongy organs in the chest that take in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. According to the American Lung Association, Black men have the highest death rate of lung cancer cases in the United States. To explain why, health researchers believe that Black men’s unique biological pathways could be the cause. But then, the survival rate of this type within the Black community is 16%, making it a deadly disease.
  5. Cervical Cancer: To grasp how cervical cancer affects the body, you need to know what the cervix is. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects it to the vagina. When cells in the cervix develop cancer, it is known as cervical cancer. Although not all precancerous cells turn to cancer, early diagnosis helps to discover the problematic cells on time and treat them before they develop into full-blown cancer. But then, its survival rate among Black women is 56% and older Black women (of 65 and older) have the survival rate of 46%.

How to Prevent Them

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black people have higher rates of getting and dying from many kinds of cancer than other races. Admittedly, health experts can treat the disease when it is at its early stages. Nevertheless, it becomes extremely difficult to treat the moment it spreads to other parts of the body. By and large, preventing the disease boils down to taking three major steps as I have discussed below:

  1. Embrace healthy living: Exercise regularly to keep your body weight in check; exercising at least 30 minutes every day helps to achieve that. Eat healthy meals (balanced diets). Focus on eating veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
  2. Avoid certain lifestyle choices: If you wish to achieve cancer-free life,you must avoid a few things. Firstly, avoid or limit your alcohol consumption. In truth, boozing increases your odds of developing those cancer types discussed above. Secondly, don’t smoke because tobacco-smoking leads to all cancer types, alongside other health issues. If you are already a habitual smoker, it is time to kick the habit! Thirdly, you should limit your level of exposure to the sun because excessive exposure to the sun results in melanoma. Thankfully, health practitioners believe that melanoma isn’t common among Blacks because our melanin protects our skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays.
  3. Go for regular screening tests: Aside from helping you treat cancer soon enough, regular screening tests help protect you against the disease. In short, health experts recommend that people of specific age brackets should screen for certain cancer types. For instance, Age 21 goes for cervical cancer, Age 40 screens for breast and prostate cancer, and Age 50 tests for lung cancer. If you haven’t been going for screening tests before now, this National Cancer Prevention Month offers you the opportunity to turn a new leaf! You can also test at home; that works too. Remember, early detection helps!

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About the author

Ifeanyi Paschal

Ifeanyi Paschal is an experienced researcher and versatile writer. With nearly a decade of experience in the writing industry, Paschal has coordinated and participated in several research studies and written for companies in a wide spectrum of industries, including health and wellness, tech, HRM, and business development.

As a writer with Elevate Black Health, Paschal goes the extra mile to do extensive research and craft health and wellness articles that help the global Black community deepen its understanding of relevant health challenges, find effective solutions to them, and maximize healthy living.

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