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Cancer research can’t be cut

People across America are observing National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, which kicked off Sunday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

People across America are observing National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, which kicked off Sunday.

Initiated 15 years ago, the week is set aside to draw attention to the disproportionate occurrences of cancer among minorities and those living in areas where health care is either not available or is limited. It’s obvious that cancer doesn’t discriminate, but consider the following figures provided by the American Cancer Society:

– African Americans are 34 percent more likely to die of cancer than caucasians.

– African American men and women are 32 percent more likely to die from colorectal cancer than whites.

– African American men are more than twice as likely to die of prostate caner than men of other racial and ethnic groups.

According to a press release, the ACS is "working to affect public policy changes to address the problem." The group has implemented numerous educational and outreach efforts to draw awareness to the problem. This, however, will only scratch the surface.

We need to do all we can to wipe out this dreaded disease for the benefit of all races. The key is research and the key to research is funding. Unfortunately, funding for such initiatives as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being cut.

We urge you to contact your legislators and tell them we can’t afford not to have an opportunity to eliminate – or at least minimize – diseases such as cancer.