Death rates from cancer highest among minorities; men's health dinner aims to raise awarenessA special dinner was sponsored in April to highlight cancer awareness among minorities.
By: Naomi Yaeger, Duluth Budgeteer News
A special dinner was sponsored in April to highlight cancer awareness among minorities.
“African-Americans and American Indians are more likely to die from cancer than the U.S. population as a whole,” Marjorie Johnson of the American Cancer Society’s Health Equity Department said. The third week in April was National Minority Cancer Awareness Week.
On Friday, April 20, African-American, American Indian and other men of color were invited to a Men’s Health Supper at the First United Methodist (Coppertop) Church. About 30 people attended. The Great Lake Singers of the Red Lake Urban Office provided Native American drumming, while Gabriel Green’s Church of Restoration Choir provided gospel music.
Two medical doctors spoke to the group: Brett Friday, a cancer specialist at Essentia Health and Arne Vainio, a physician at Fond du Lac’s Min-no-aya-win Clinic.
Friday spoke after the choir sang. “It takes a cancer doctor to ruin a good party!” he joked with the audience. His presentation was personable as he fielded questions from the attendees.
Friday told the group that prostate cancer is a significant risk to African-American men, but that an effective screening process has not been discovered. He urged men to discuss the screening process with their doctors.
Vainio said that there are good methods if colorectal cancer screening. He projected a portion of his movie “Walking into the Unknown” onto a screen. Even though Vainio had lost patients to colorectal cancer and his family history indicated he was at risk, he had put off having an exam. He said he felt like a hypocrite telling his patients to get their colonoscopies done, so he made a movie of him undergoing one. He and his wife, Ivy Vainio, produced the Emmy-nominated documentary.
Vainio told the men in the crowd that as fathers, brothers and husbands, they owe it to others to get screened. “We need to be around,” he said. “Colonoscopies save lives.”
To learn more, call (800)227-2345 or visit cancer.org.