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FAMU launches men’s health coalition

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By Angeline Taylor

Florida A&M President James Ammons accepted the responsibility of being a health advocate Monday when he announced his university’s launch of a coalition on black men’s health for this week’s National Minority Cancer Awareness Week.

FAMU is suited to launch a committee dedicated to decrease the disproportionate numbers of black men getting cancer, Ammons said. The coalition would go about decreasing those numbers through education, research and a pooling of resources with support teams and activities. This week, administrators have planned different events every day to educate students and faculty.

The statistics alone, Ammons said, are reason to launch a coalition. He said the death rate from cancer for black men is about 37-percent higher than that for white men. He said prostate cancer hits 255 per 100,000 black men; whereas, 161 per 100,000 white men are afflicted with the disease.

But Ammons stressed that individuals must do their part as well.

“I know all of us have this thing about certain tests. We all wish that they could be a little less invasive. But we’ve got to go through them in order to maintain our health,” he said.

He also said eating healthy, exercising, maintaining good body weight and limiting alcohol intake were suggested by organizations as keys to preventing cancer.

Joining Ammons on the steps of FAMU’s Lee Hall were State Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros; Dr. Emile Commedore, director of minority health and Florida Cancer Program administrator Susan A. Fleming.

Ros said the Florida Department of Health is partnering with FAMU on the initiative.

“As one of seven health areas that disproportionately impact minorities, cancer remains the challenge. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States exceeded only by heart disease,” Ros said. “Unfortunately, African-Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial or ethnic groups for all cancers combined and for most major cancers.”



Written by Symphony

April 24, 2008 at 6:28 pm

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