Did you know that cancer is the number one killer of US Hispanics? Today, February 4th, is World Cancer Day, a day that is internationally set aside to open up the conversation, raise awareness and collect funds for research and programs.
While cancer deaths among Latinos have dropped, the problem lies in the fact that the types of cancers that do tend to afflict US Hispanics are preventable and treatable when caught early enough – like breast cancer and cervical cancer. In general, cancer tends to be diagnosed later in Latinos than in white non-Latinos. This is problematic because it greatly affects available treatment plans and makes treatment much more grueling.
So what can be done? The key is to get to know yourself. Get regular physicals and check-ups. If something feels or looks off, see a doctor. If your doctor is not taking your concern seriously, see another one. For many cancers, early detection is crucial to treatment and likelihood of survival. Another important step is to eat right – be sure that your diet is filled with a variety of produce while being low in sodium, processed foods and saturated fats. Getting your heart healthy with exercise, staying hydrated, refraining from smoking and binge drinking and getting adequate sleep are all ways to lessen the likelihood of cancer as well.