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Combating Prostate Cancer in the African American Community

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Introduction

In the U.S, cancer is the second leading cause of death among men. Many people are frequently diagnosed with cancer. Prostate cancer among men is at a high rate, and is the second leading cause of deaths among men in the U.S. Even though the real cause of increased rate of prostate cancer among the African black has not been well identified, it is important that African American men know the facts about the disease and seek medical attention to help them reduce the prevalence.

Prevalence of prostate cancer

Statistics on the African Americans men suffering from cancer is alarming. In the US, the rate of African Americans diagnosed is high compared to other ethnic communities. Africa Americans diagnosed with cancer in 2009 were approximated at 27,130. It is also estimated that 3,690 African Americans men died of prostate cancer in 2009 (American Cancer Society para. 3). When compared to their white counterparts, African American women are 2.4 times more likely to succumb to cancer. Even though efforts have been done to ensure that this rate is reduced, the prostate specific antigen screening has remained highly controversial, and has not yet been proven effective through randomized clinical trials (Jones, Steeves and Ishan 189). Various repercussions are associated with prostate cancer, hence need for urgent prevention measures.

Effects of prostate cancer

Some of the effects of prostate cancer include: it produces emotional and physical effects to the sufferers. Men suffering from prostate cancer usually feel embarrassed because of the stigma and uncertainties that are associated with the disease. The society views the disease as embarrassing and therefore, many men are not willing to come out and go for screening. Some of the myths about prostrate cancer are symptomatic because of the method that is used in its screening, as a tube is inserted in the rectum to collect saliva that is used for testing. Therefore, many people are against this and it deters them to go for screening. Furthermore, the only way that it is treated is through orchiectomy (Arras-Boyd, Boyd, and Kay 16). Additionally, there are several stigmas that men who are diagnosed with cancer go through. These include having problems with incontinence and becoming impotence. Many men believe that once they are diagnosed with the disease, they will develop sexual dysfunction and therefore, they will lose their ability to erect and engage in sexual intercourse. Therefore, these have been some of the obstacles that have prevented many men, especially the African Americans men from seeking help and going for the cancer screening. Regardless of this, efforts should be done to help prevent the disease among other African Americans men.

Prevention strategies

According to Mayo, there are no proven strategies that have been advanced, which are able to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer (para. 2). However, there are many ways that the risk of cancer can be prevented.

Feeding of healthy diet

Many doctors recommend that people at risk or those with interest in preventing prostate cancer should feed on good healthy diets. The diet that is usually recommended should be of low levels of fat and include many fruits and vegetables. This combination helps to save men at risk of suffering from cancer (Oliver 74). The changing lifestyles and food preferences have contributed to the high number of African Americans men suffering from prostrates cancer. Therefore, they have the obligation to ensure that they avoid such diets not recommended by the health practitioners. A low fat diet food should always be selected. These foods with low levels of fats and calories may include meats, fruits, nuts and dairy products such as cheese and milk. This is the best strategy to ensure that the health of the men is maintained, and it helps them to prevent risks associated with cancer (Tataw and Olugbemiga 44). It is also recommended that people eat more greens compared to animal products on their daily basis. Research has revealed that there are many risks involved in taking animal products because they have higher levels of fats compared to green plants. It is also advisable to use olive oil while cooking food to reduce the amount of fats in the diets.

Drinking of alcohol

Even though few studies have linked prostate cancer with alcohol drinking, there is a high potential that this disease is contributed by high levels of alcohol intake. Many cases of men suffering from the disease take alcohol. It is therefore advisable for men drinking alcohol to reduce their daily intake to reduce the risk of contracting cancer.

Maintaining a healthy weight

Men who have a body mass index of 30 or higher than this are considered to be obese (Oliver 74). Obesity has also been linked to prostate cancer. Being obese increases the risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, any man who is obese should work hard to reduce weight. Those with normal weight should also work hard to maintain their weight to avoid becoming obese. Weight can be regulated by eating balanced diets and engaging in physical exercise every day. This will ensure that the weight is reduced and it will help to reduce the risk of African Americans from the risk of becoming obese and reduce the risk of suffering from prostate cancer.

Exercises

Various studies have revealed that men who engage in frequent exercises have low risk of suffering from cancer. However, some studies have disagreed with this fact. Body exercise is essential in maintaining weight and helping weight loss, which is associated with cancer.

Family and friend involvement

In the decision-making process concerning screening, family and friends play a key role. Family members and friends can be of great assistance in helping men seek medical treatment. The most important step of action men at risk need to do is to go for screening. However, many African Americans men may not find it easy to go for these screenings. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the family and friends to assist in advising such men to seek earlier cancer screening to enable them know their statuses early. Men at high risk of testing positive in prostate cancer are usually aged more than forty years and usually have families that can motivate and encourage them (Rivers et al 106). Many men trust their family members and therefore, they are the right people to encourage them to seek medical attention. The fact that friends and family members place their interest related to health issues at the forefront, they are likely to push them to seek medical attention. Therefore, this is one of the strategies that can help in preventing the high prevalence of cancer among African American men. They will be compelled to go for screening and be advised on the best ways to live to ensure that they do not get the disease.

Trust in health care provider

One of the challenges that have marred successful fight against increased rate of prostrates cancer among the American African men is lack of confident in the health care providers and the screening activities. Therefore, to ensure that this disease is prevented, efforts are required to ensure that the level of confidence in screening activities is improved. This will help create confidence among the African Americans people, and this will enable many of them to seek screening services to enhance their heath. Health decision is also based on the relationship between the health providers and the patients. If the rapport between health providers and the patients is improved, many men in the U.S will go for screening, and this will help them to know their statuses and take necessary measures to prevent and control the disease (Nelson, Balkand and Roth 1052). Some studies have suggested that race has been one of the major factors that have hindered positive relationships between the African Americans and the whites. Therefore, men from African Americans race may have been discouraged to seek medical attentions due to the racial discrimination. Therefore, this impediment needs to be corrected to ensure that African American men are prevented from the risk of contracting cancer.

Knowing a friend or family member with prostate cancer

Knowing a friend who is suffering from prostate cancer is one of the ways of impacting decision making concerning screening. Men can prevent the risk of prostate cancer by learning from their closest family members and the friends suffering from cancer. These friends are very crucial in compelling other American Africa men to make decision to go for screening. The friends can help by advising them about the importance of seeking earlier medical attentions. Screening can help prevent many men from suffering from prostate cancer. These survivors are normally perceived as credible and compelling sources of information that groups of people could accommodate and understand. People usually know them and perceive that what they say is truth, and therefore, they are more likely to follow and abide by what comes from these people. People who do not talk about prostate cancer or even know about it would therefore get an opportunity to ask questions and receive further clarification. Therefore, they foster information sharing and discussion as they allow and explain to the people about the risk, symptoms and treatment options available concerning cancer. Therefore, use of cancer survivor reinforces the need for many men to talk about cancer and be more open about cancer, enabling them to make decision to go for screening (Wray 37).

Annual screening

As the best way to ensure that cancer is prevented, screening should be conducted on annual basis on the African American men who are over 45 years, because they are at high risk of being affected by cancer. This screening will go an extra mile in preventing the rate of cancer cases among this category of people. Such programs would enable those people with high risk for undetected prostate cancer to be identified and be provided with the necessary help (Rita, Boyd and Kay 116).

Campaigns

Campaigns are very essential in reaching out to African American men, and creating awareness and educating them on the reasons why they need to be fully involved in ensuring that they keep healthy and prevent cancer. There are various causes of cancer, such as smoking and feeding on bad diets. This information should be packaged well and passed to men to help them change their behaviors (Chan, 195). These messages can be transmitted through various mediums. These channels include churches, central locations such as drug stores, words of mouth from peers, sports and commercial events, televisions, billboards, barbershops, dances, bars and radios among many others. These venues can help in creating awareness about the effects of cancer and the best ways to prevent the disease. Other avenue of transmitting this message is use of cancer survivors. These survivors can talk to the African Americans. These people will be motivated to take action and this strategy will help in reducing the rate of cancer prevalence among the African Americans in the U.S.

Use of focus groups

Focus groups are also very important strategies that can be used to ensure that cancer is prevented in the African American people. This platform helps to bring men together to discuss various aspects that concern cancer. Through such discussions, they will be able to get information and be motivated to go for screening, and this is likely to help reduce the prevalence of cancer among them (Cathy, Arlene, Marlene and Baer 967). This will change the perception of the African American men about going for cancer screening. Therefore, this is one of the important strategies that if well utilized; it can help to prevent cancer prevalence among the African American men. The men will be motivated to keep good health of their bodies and in the process they will help in reduction of cancer prevalence.

Community members

Community members are very important Stakeholders in creating awareness and providing support in prevention initiatives aimed at reducing the increased rate of cancer among African Americans men. The community is very essential in helping to create awareness and compelling men to go for the cancer screening. Community has a greater advantage and authority to compel men to seek for screening. Furthermore, community members may come together and contribute funds and other needed resources to help men to go for screening and know their status. Besides, these resources can be used to provide medical attention for those men diagnosed with prostate cancer during the early stages or phases. Such initiatives will be of greater assistance in helping to reduce the prevalence of cancer among the American Africa people (Cathy, Arlene, Marlene and Baer 972).

Cultural competence prevention

One of the challenges that have made it hard for many African Americans men not to seek for medical treatment and go for prostate cancer screening is due to cultural beliefs and stigmatization by the members of the society. The screening of cancer entails insertion of a tube in the rectum of a man to get saliva. Many of these men are opposed to such practices and therefore, this deters them from going for such screening. Other stigmas concerned with going for screening is the perceived sexual dysfunction when they are proved that that are cancer positive (Cathy, Arlene, Marlene and Baer 967). The stigma has therefore instilled fear in many of them and this has deterred them from seeking for screening services. Therefore, it is important for the campaigns to provide cultural designed messages that can help demystifying these allegations and believes. This demystification will go miles ahead in changing their perceptions about the screenings and many of them will have to take a step ahead to go for screening. This will help to greater heights in reducing or preventing the increased rates of prostate cancer among the African Americans.

Mandatory screening

The government should make it a law to ensure that all men who reach a certain age are screened. This will ensure that many men go for screening and this will go miles away in preventing cancer cases among the African Americans (Chan 195). Many people may be willing to go for the screening, but because of lack of money, they are not able to go for screening to know their health status. Therefore, this contributes a lot to the increased rates of cases of cancer among the African Americans (Cathy, Arlene, Marlene and Baer 967). There should also be referral even if the individual has no financial qualification. A free emergency in emergency rooms is also another way of ensuring that many men go for these screening. Other measures that can be relied upon to ensure that many African Americans are brought into this category is by reducing the taxes or introduction of tax breaks to those facilities that provide free screening services to the clients. These measures will go miles away in preventing cases of cancer (Tataw and Olugbemiga 44).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is true that prostate cancer is increasing at higher rate among the African American men. This coincides with the fact that cancer is the second killing disease in the U.S. Therefore, it is prudent that urgent measures are adhered to ensure that this state is reversed. Even as the efforts geared at ensuring reduction of the diseases are adopted, various challenges such as stigma and lack of rapport between the medical practitioners and the people, and lack of trust in screening hinder the intervention efforts of preventing increased cases of cancer among the African American men. Therefore, various stakeholders have the obligation of joining their hands together to help alleviate the increasing rates of cancer. These men should be advised on the right diets that they should feed on. Moreover, they also should be advised on the need to be positive about screening and stop clinging on their cultural beliefs. Other prevention measures or strategies to help in reduction of these cases of cancer among men are ensuring annual screening processes and survivor campaigns. Media, community and the health practitioners should also team together to campaign and create awareness on the importance of taking the first initiative to go for screening. I am optimistic that if the government, stakeholders and the men take the initiative, the case of prostate cancer will be managed and this disease will no longer claim the lives of people as it currently does.

Works Cited

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans, 2009-2010. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2009. Print.

Arras-Boyd, Rita, Boyd, Roger, and Gaehle Kay. Reaching Men at Highest Risk for Undetected Prostate Cancer, International Journal of Men’s Health, 8.2(2011):16-128. Print.

Cathy, Meade, Calvo, Arlene, Rivera, Marlene and Baer Roberta. Focus Groups in the Design of Prostate Cancer Screening Information for Hispanic Farm workers and African American Men, Oncology Nursing Forum, 30.6(2003): 967-975. Print.

Chan, Edward. Promoting informed decision making about prostate cancer screening. Comprehensive Therapy, 27.3(2001):195-201. Print.

Jones, Randy, Steeves, Richard and Williams Ishan. Family and Friend Interactions Among African-American Men Deciding Whether or Not to Have A Prostate Cancer Screening, Urologic Nursing, 30.3(2010); 189-166. Print.

Mayo Clinic. Prostate cancer. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prostate-cancer-prevention/MC00027>

Nelson, Christian, Balk, Eliana and Roth, Andrew. Distress, anxiety, depression, and emotional well-being in African-American men with prostate cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 19.10 (201): 1052-1060. Print.

Oliver, Joann. Attitudes and beliefs about prostate cancer and screening among rural African American men, Journal of Cultural Diversity, 14.2(2007):74-80. Print.

Rivers, Brian et al. Psychosocial issues related to sexual functioning among African-American prostate cancer survivors and their spouses, Psycho-Oncology, 20.1(2011):106-110. Print.

Tataw, Besong and Ekundayo, Olugbemiga. Prostate cancer risk factors, care utilization and policy options. Focus group findings from an engagement with an African American urban community, American Journal of Health Studies, 27.1(2012):32-48. Print.

Wray, Ricardo et al. Changing the conversation about prostate cancer among African Americans: results of formative research, Ethnicity & Health, 14.1(2009):27-43. Print.

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