According to a recent study by the American Cancer Society, cancer is a leading cause of death among those of Hispanic heritage living in the U.S. Hispanic and Latino people are less likely to be diagnosed with lung, colon, breast and prostate cancers than non-Hispanic white men and women.
Dr. Jesse Bracamonte, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, says preventive screenings for cancer and other diseases are effective ways to help reduce these burdens.
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"Colorectal cancers and breast cancers are on the rise in the Hispanic community. And one of those reasons may be from lack of preventive screening," says Dr. Bracamonte.
He says culture, access to care and past experiences contribute. But early screening can prevent future serious health issues.
"Screening tests for diabetes (such as checking a simple blood sugar), for cardiovascular disease to prevent strokes (such as checking on cholesterol and blood pressure), colon cancer screening, breast cancer screening for females, are all available tools," he says.
Talk with your doctor to determine the right preventive screenings and when to begin. For instance:
"Colon cancer screening for both men and women, usually at age 45, is an option, breast cancer screening for women in their 40s such as with mammogram," he says.
Dr. Bracamonte recommends having a list of questions for your doctor about what you can do to stay healthy.
"Have that list prepared about what I should get done to keep me healthy in the long term. What behaviors can I do in the long term to stay healthy? Because I think prevention is a key," says Dr. Bracamonte.