Learning the signs and symptoms of cancer early can help save lives in the Hispanic/Latino community
Cancer is the second biggest cause of mortality among Hispanics and Latinos in the U.S., behind heart disease, as reported by the American cancer Society. In fact, the Hispanic and Latino population as a whole is at a greater risk than other ethnic groups for having several forms of cancer. However, increased awareness and earlier diagnosis can reduce mortality due to cancer and improve overall health outcomes.
Are you a Latino or Hispanic person, or do you have family members who are? Then you should know that cancer affects this community differently than other groups.
Here are some facts and figures to help you understand why.
What the numbers tell us
Hispanics and Latinos have a distinct set of cancer risks due to a mix of hereditary, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors. For example, some of the most common cancers among the Hispanic/Latino population include breast, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers. Unfortunately, these cancers are often detected at an advanced stage, when treatment is more challenging, and fatality rates are greater.
A lack of access to healthcare also plays a role in the disproportionately high cancer mortality rates in this community. Since many Hispanics and Latinos lack adequate health coverage, it can be difficult for them to get the cancer screenings and treatment they need.
The value of early cancer detection and awareness
There is a higher chance of survival if cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage. Breast and colon cancer screenings should be performed routinely to catch the disease in its earliest and most curable stages. Educating the public about cancer causes and risk factors is also important since it encourages them to make positive adjustments in their own lives that might mitigate that risk.
Hispanic and Latino populations should put cancer prevention at the top of their list of health concerns. This includes not smoking, getting plenty of exercise, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, and sticking to a balanced diet.
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