Cancer directly affects 1 in 3 of us during our lifetime. But did you know that a Black male is three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than a White male? That's a fairly startling stat. And if your race, something completely out of your control, can have such an effect on your health, what can be done about it?
Well, that's what Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month (EMCAM) hopes to address.
Whilst social factors such as employment and income, age, education and gender were also logged, there was no strong indication that any of these skewed the statistics or indicated a lack of awareness. So what are the cancer stats across ethnic minorities, and why do some cancers affect certain races more than others?
As well as the likelihood of ethnic minorities developing certain types of cancer being statistically higher, there are any other underlying factors. For example, studies conducted by 8 English universities have shown that those who class themselves as "black, South Asian and those who identified themselves as 'other ethnic group' were less likely to recognise all cancer symptoms" than their white counterparts.
The same study found that ethnic minorities were more reluctant or embarrassed to head to the doctor if they experienced symptoms like a change in a mole or a persistent cough. Young girls were less likely to have the cervical cancer jab if they were from a BME background.
As well as further education being made available to all ethnicities, it appears we need to be removing the stigma of seeking medical attention, even when the symptoms appear to be mundane. Going forward, charities need to openly target ethnic minorities resulting in an equal chance of beating cancer across the board, which could raise more awareness and lead to better care... maybe even a cure in the future.
Whilst cancer symptoms can vary from person to person, if you are experiencing persistent or unusual symptoms, it is worth seeking medical help:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29847644, http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/cervical/news/013.html, http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_131.pdf