Ways to obtain and maintain good health and well-being within the family is the subject of A Family Health Day: Focus Cancer, a workshop hosted by the California Oncology Research Institute (CORI) in partnership with the Global Wellness Project (GWP), set to take place at 9 a.m.-12 noon, Sat., June 23, in Fellowship Hall at First Church of God Center of Hope, 9550 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles.
The workshop is the fourth in a series of CORI programs designed and developed by Dr. Ronald Hurst, co-founder and director of clinical research of CORI, to address the various cancers that disproportionately affect African Americans and Latinos (including colon, breast, prostate and general oncology). It will include on-site mammogram screenings at no cost to participants. It is free and open to the public.
“June is Men’s Health Month and we’ve asked women to bring a man they love to the workshop,” said Angela de Joseph, GWP executive director. “The workshop will not only address cancers that disproportionately affect the African American community, we will also have a special presentation for Black men on prostate and colon cancer. One out of every five African Americans is uninsured which is one of the primary factors leading to late cancer diagnosis.”
Workshop speakers include Dr. Hurst and CORI co-founder Dr. Anton Bilchik, who will both lead the panel discussion; as well as Dr. Jenny Ru and Dr. Dana Scott.
Dr. Scott, a urologist who has been doing community outreach for years, applauds the work of Dr. Hurst and Dr. Bilchik, who have developed several health-based community workshops.
“These kinds of workshops are needed for our community,” said Scott, who graduated from Drew UCLA Medical School in 2005. “I chose urology because cancer was disproportionately affecting my community.”
Scott agrees that once a person is diagnosed, the support system that is in place is also affected.
“It’s interesting,” said Scott. “A cancer diagnosis affects everyone in the family not just the person being diagnosed. If it’s a man, it affects the woman taking care of him, his children, his friends and his extended family.”
Scott said there are three things a family should know about cancer prevention.
“Diet, exercise and regular screenings are the three things everyone needs to think about on a regular basis,” said Scott. “Black men should monitor their diets, watch their cholesterol and exercise. They should be getting their annual physicals and following up. They should also talk to their families about whatever illnesses they have so the younger generation can know what to look out for.”
In terms of diet, Scott advises everyone to pay attention to the areas they shop in at the super markets.
“My suggestion is to shop the perimeter of the store,” said Scott. “If you remember that and practice that, you’ll be sure to get the nutrients you need from fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy and eggs. Stay away from the middle of the store where there is processed food.”
Scott, whose practice focuses on prostate cancer, said getting the right information out to the community is critical.
She disagrees with a recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) study that dismisses the need for men to have prostate exams once they turn 40.
The study intimates that screenings for prostate cancer has more risks than benefits.
“I think it’s important for Black men to have a prostate exam at 40 despite what the U.S. Task Force recently put out,” said Scott. “We don’t know enough to say we should stop checking at age 40. Unfortunately, when it comes to Blacks and cancer – we are considered to be a high risk factor. Just being Black you’re at risk. So, how can we go from being at risk to not needing to be screened at all?”