IE/OC Prostate and Breast Cancer, Change the Menu
All things in moderation.
Little or no exercise, extra poundage, the constant toxic haze hanging over the summer cities, or all of the above, is by many scientific estimations a likely precursor to cancer.
When it comes to the prostate, add deep fried foods to the growing list of culprits — fried chicken, crispy french fries, fried fish, or even doughnuts.
The National Cancer Institute recommends lowering the heat to a slow cook, try light golden brown and stay away from too much deep frying, or grilled meats.
“Researchers found that high consumption of well-done, fried, or barbecued meats was associated with increased risks of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer,” the governmental research website reports.
Another recent study from the University of North Carolina Health Care System also found that high saturated fats also contributed to fast-growing prostate cancer.
The jury is still out, but diet may be something to consider.
After all these years, the numbers of Black men and prostate cancer have hardly budged. They are still about two and half times more likely to get prostate cancer than white men.
With a cure nowhere in sight, John Futch, a prostate cancer survivor said the answer may be to start talking about the cause.
The good news is that he sees Black fraternities like Phi Beta Sigma alerting younger men to start testing in their 20’s and 30’s, even as many doctors recommend the PSA blood test and a rectal exam by age 40.
But for Black men, that is still too late. Even as the Millennial generation is more conscious of testing, he said that many men still miss out on their regular checkups.
Whenever there is an opportunity, he speaks out about the importance of the dreaded digital exam, but the macho effect is still a big issue.
African American men don’t want to talk about it, and they don’t want to get the physical exam.
“Black men are so proud, if you want to mess with their prostate, they’re going to say no, period,” said Futch, who is also a community volunteer with Komen John Futch, Community Volunteer with Susan G. Komen, Inland Empire.
In his situation, the blood test was not foolproof. His PSA presented at zero, but he was sure that something was wrong. His hormones were off, he was low on libido and turning into a couch potato.
“So you go get checked, next thing you know the doctor is sending you for a biopsy,” Futch said, adding that the PSA should be used in conjunction with the digital exam.
Compared to other groups, the same stark disparities exist in breast cancer incidence for Black women.
The Center for Disease Control reports that young African American women under 35 years old are dealing with breast cancer rates that run twice as high as white women in that age group.
LarLeslie McDaniel, Circle of Promise Community Resource Advocate, said that it seems to be a combination of many things — diet, environment, weight, unequal treatment or access within the healthcare system.
Black women also get breast cancer younger, and at a more advanced stage when discovered.
Several factors could play into the higher incidence. Black women tend to have more aggressive breast cancers, also believed to be related to a hormonal imbalance as a result of higher body mass index. Overweight women may have hormonal issues that prompt the faster-growing cancer.
“Being obese or overweight does seem to raise the risk,” said McDaniel of Susan G. Komen in Orange County. “But there are genetic reasons. Late stage diagnosis that could be barriers from in the medical system to cultural differences.”
Coupled with sometimes more aggressive types of breast cancer, delayed diagnosis may contribute to late stage diagnosis. Current recommendations are that women start screening for breast cancer at age 40, but again, for African American women, that could be too late.
“If you wait until your 40, if you’re diagnosed at that point it could be late stage,” she said.
She’s even heard of some women diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20’s.
One way to self-protect is that women become familiar with their bodies, to identify lumps or discharge as the tests are not readily offered or available to them.
Last week, their group held a roundtable with a guest from Washington, D.C. who is leading the national initiative to address disparities in urban areas, including Los Angeles County, and select cities across the nation for African American women. Recently, Komen announced its $27 million funding to address the equity initiative, that hopes to reduce breast cancer disparities by 25% in the next five years.
She said there is a strong call to action throughout the community to become aware, and help others to understand ways to lower the disparity.
Part of the problem may be that African Americans are still struggling with historic medical abuse, and have not volunteered for clinical trials. The research for better outcomes has mostly involved white women. But, in some cases, she said that Black women are not even offered the opportunity to participate.
“But if we’re not in the trial, the testing doesn’t include us, it stands to reason that treatments don’t necessarily work for us,” she said.
McDaniel said that until she volunteered a few years ago, she was unaware of the dramatic disparities in breast cancer.
“It’s such a serious issue, many people are not aware, even my friends. I share with them,” she said.
For more information, see http://komenie.org