This Issue

Cancer and health disparities

Increasing access key to closing the gap

Tips to close the gap

Q & A

Fiction
Fact
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death
in women.
Cardiovascular disease kills more women than all cancers combined.
Surgery can cause
cancer to spread.
Exposing the tumor to air does not cause cancer to spread. Often surgery reveals a more extensive cancer, which may cause people to think that surgery worsened the disease.
Cancer is contagious. It is not possible to “catch” cancer from someone. However, through unsafe sex, you can become infected with certain viruses, such as hepatitis C and HPV, which can lead to liver and cervical cancers, respectively.
Living a healthy lifestyle
can prevent cancer.
Although exercise, not smoking, a healthy weight and a healthy eating plan can reduce the risk of cancer, they cannot provide an absolute protection against the disease. Other factors, such as genetics and environment may come into play.

Myths busted

A disturbing difference

A life saving timetable

Risk factors

Take the
first step


A disturbing difference



How much is too much?


honeyThe body requires glucose to provide energy to do its job. We can get that sugar naturally from fruits, vegetables, milk and whole grains, which are full of nutrients. Added sugars, on the other hand, are sugars and syrups added to foods during preparation or at the table. These added sugars bring with them sweetness and calories, but lack nutrition. The American Heart Association recommends a daily limit of added sugars according to the information below.


Women’s daily limit
6 teaspoons = 100 Calories = 25 grams

Men’s daily limit
9 teaspoons = 150 Calories = 37.5 grams

Oral, Head and Neck Cancer
Awareness Week is May 8 – 14.


Photo by Vannessa Carrington/Mass. Eye and Ear

Get screened for head and neck
cancer. It’s free, quick and painless.

Boston Medical Center
Moakley Building Lobby
830 Harrison Avenue
Date: April 2
Time: 8 a.m. - noon
617-638-8260

Tufts Medical Center
860 Washington Street
Date: May 12
Time: 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
617-636-1664
Mass Eye and Ear
243 Charles Street
Date: May 13
Time: TBA
617-573-3340
Dedham Family Dental
Dr. Helaine Smith
30 Milton Street, Dedham
Date: May 11
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
781-326-4600

Mass General Hospital
Voice Center

One Bowdoin Square,
11th Floor
Date: May 13
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
617-726-0218
Remember to call ahead to confirm
time and date
of screenings.

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Risk Factors

A risk factor is a characteristic that is likely to increase your chance of a particular disease. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease. Likewise, not having one is not a guarantee against it. Some risk factors for cancer are beyond a person’s control, while others can be influenced by behavior and lifestyle.

Factors you can control

• Smoking and tobacco use
• Inactivity and weight
• Unhealthy diet
• Alcohol consumption

Factors beyond your control

• Age
• Race
• Personal or family history of cancer
• Genetics/inherited mutations


October is
National Breast
Cancer Awareness Month

Although death rates from cancer are on the decline, the disparity between blacks and whites persists. Between 2003 and 2007, the death rate in blacks was 23 percent higher than whites and more than double the rate in Asians. More


Take the first step



Schedule a screening

African Americans are suffering from cancer at far greater rates, but the numbers are improving ever so slightly. Researchers say early screenings are part of the reason

Talk about a cultural change. Hawo Adan-Abdi, 51, readily admitted she was not excited about the prospect of regular breast cancer screenings. But the providers at Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) persisted and when she saw that women emerged from the test unscathed she eventually relented. More

Video courtesy of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Increasing access is key

Dr. Christopher Lathan, a thoracic oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has his work cut out for him. As director of the Cancer Care Equity Program at the Institute, his goal is to make sure that minorities have access to and receive the quality of care they need to combat their disease. More



Tips to close the gap

Steps that lower cancer risks often help prevent heart disease, stroke and diabetes, too, and improve all-around health tremendously. Smoking plays a major role in cancer. And roughly one-third of cancer deaths this year will stem from excess weight or obesity, inactivity or poor nutrition, according to the ACS. More