African Americans and Cancer

Cancer Facts You Should Know

According to the American Cancer Society, the burden of some cancers is greater on African Americans. To help reduce incidence and improve outcomes, Fox Chase Cancer Center offers programs aimed at prevention, detection and treatment for people at high risk of prostate, breast, ovarian, lung and colorectal cancers.

Skin Cancer and African Americans

Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, including African Americans. When skin cancer is found at a later stage, it is often harder to treat. So, knowing the signs and symptoms and how to protect yourself and your family can help find skin cancer early. To learn more about skin cancer and dark skin from the National Cancer Institute click here.

If you have specific questions about skin cancer call the Resource and Education Center at 215-214-1618, Monday – Friday 9AM - 5PM. 

You can schedule a program with a trained health educator for your business or organization on skin cancer or other cancer topics. Click here to learn more.

Prostate Cancer and African Americans

Prostate cancer is the leading cancer diagnosed in men in the United States. For reasons that are unclear, incidence rates are significantly higher in African American men than in white men.

Age, ethnicity and family history are the main risk factors for prostate cancer. With regards to ethnicity, African American men and Jamaican men of African descent have the highest prostate cancer incidence in the world. The Risk Assessment program at Fox Chase can help assess your personal prostate cancer risk.

Breast Cancer and African Americans

Although more white women are diagnosed with breast cancer, more black women die from the disease. Research has shown that black women are often diagnosed at later, harder-to-treat stages of breast cancer and have more aggressive breast cancers. Access to top-quality care and genetics may contribute to increased risk. Learn more about your personal risk for breast cancer.

Lung Cancer and African Americans

Research suggests that blacks are 55% more likely than whites to develop lung cancer from light to moderate cigarette smoking. The results hold true even after considering factors such as diet, socioeconomic status and occupations, suggesting that genetics and biology may play a role. Get the help you need to quit smoking through our Resource and Education Center.

Colorectal Cancer and African Americans

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among African Americans. Because African-Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in its more advanced stages, it is also the third leading cause of cancer deaths in this group. For reasons that are unknown, incidence rates for African Americans are higher than for whites. This data is especially disappointing because colorectal cancer can be prevented and, if caught early, has a 90% cure rate.

Through Fox Chase Cancer Center's Risk Assessment program, we can develop a personal screening plan for you to help detect cancers at the earliest, most treatable stage. Periodic screenings for colorectal cancer can detect polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancers capable of spreading to other parts of the body. The good news is that most polyps can be removed without surgery.

Detecting Cancer Later in African Americans

African Americans are more likely than whites to be diagnosed at a later stage of cancer. This may be due to factors such as less knowledge about cancer symptoms and reduced access to cancer screening services. Later stage detection adds to lower cure rates and shorter survival. Fox Chase offers an array of cancer prevention programs as well as outreach services.

Community Outreach Services

Fox Chase Cancer Center has developed a community outreach program designed to target minority populations with health disparities (Hispanic, Asian, African-American and Native-American). In order to build relationships with these racial groups, Fox Chase offers community-based educational programming and screening opportunities and helps organizations interested in developing cancer-related programs, providing technical support in program development, implementation and evaluation. Organization leaders interested in starting a cancer-related program should contact Evelyn Gonzalez at 215-728-3110 x7404.

Fox Chase Addresses Cancer Health Disparities

Learn more about Health EducationFox Chase Cancer Center recently partnered with Lincoln University to help address cancer health disparities in minority populations. As part of this collaboration, Fox Chase and Lincoln are applying for a joint planning (P20) grant from the National Cancer Institute. Lincoln University, founded in 1854 and located in southern Chester Country, Pa., is known as America's first historically black university. Distinguished alumni include world-acclaimed poet Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Justice of the US Supreme Court, among many others.
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For more information about cancer health disparities, visit the following web sites:


Types of Cancer

Types of Cancer

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Find a Clinical Trial

Find a Clinical Trial

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Lincoln University and Fox Chase Cancer Center Collaborate

Fox Chase Cancer Center and Lincoln University partner for cancer research and training.
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