Closing The Gap In Cancer Health Disparities

By: Lanetra Bennett
October 15, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The American Cancer Society says African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the country for most cancers.

Tuesday, FAMU's College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences sponsored a symposium to bring awareness to the issue. It was called, "Closing the Gap in Cancer Health Disparities; Talk, Listen and Care--TLC."

Professor Karam Soliman says cancer rates may be similar among races, but, the mortality rate is much higher for African Americans.

The ACS says the cancer death rate for black people is 207 and 172 for white people.

Dr. Soliman says, "This can result of case; less care you receive. If they have surgery, post-surgical care. All of those combined can reduce survival in cancer patients."

In correlation with National Breast Cancer Month, several symposium segments focused on breast cancer, which researchers say disproportionately affects black women.

Professors say the most important things to know for prevention are screening and dietary factors.

FAMU professor and chairman of the symposium, Dr. Mandip Chdeva, says, "If they can look at their diet and see what they can eat or not eat will probably help in chemo-prevention or for breast cancer. Furthermore, a lot of things are genetic. You cannot change your genetic makeup."

The symposium was funded by a $5.6 million federal grant.

FAMU also held its annual Homecoming Health and Safety Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday. More than 100 community partners were invited to give free health screenings and information.

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