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Latinos: Don’t Let your Guard Down Against Cancer

A few nights ago, I was riding the train on my way back home from a New York City trip and I had the chance to read an interesting article explaining the reasons why more Americans are surviving their struggle against cancer, published in the April/May issue of AARP: The Magazine. New drugs, targeted treatments and continuous research have increased the chances of cure and survival.

I was glad to read the good news but I began to wonder if Latinos were being affected by this disease at higher rates. I did some digging and this is what I found:

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), cancer “is the second leading cause [of death] among Hispanics, accounting for 20 percent of deaths overall and 13 percent in children.” Moreover, the probability of developing any type of cancer among Hispanics over the age of 40 increases to 1 in 17 for men and 1in 14 for women (Compared to 1 in 87 and 1in 58 respectively for Hispanics 39 years old and younger) These figures show that we still have a long way ahead on rooting out cancer from our community.

As you can see, our community still has a tough fight against cancer. Statistics may be improving but losing one life to cancer is one too many. I invite everyone to encourage family members, friends and yourself to get a medical check-up and stop pretending that this killer is not going to knock on your door anytime soon. Remember that early diagnosis maybe the difference between life and death.

At AARP, we collaborated with the Center for Disease Control and the American Medical Association on crafting a critical report on the necessity of promoting preventive service for adults 50+. Download the report here.

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Photo credits: AARP and the American Cancer Society.