February 11, 2014
Diseases such as obesity, hypertension, coronary vascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer are more prevalent among black Americans, says Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, associate professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. He explains how breast, prostate and colon cancers are more severe in African-Americans.
“Those cancers either tend to affect minorities more often or be more prevalent when they affect minorities. Or tend to lead to death whereas in other populations, they do not. So health disparities prevail as far as cancers are concerned as well.”
Dr. McNeese says most cancers in African-Americans are generally discovered at more advanced stages. Also, stroke is more prevalent among blacks. He explains health disparities and how they face other difficulties in getting health care.
“Minority tends to suffer in this country in what we call health disparities. Those are essentially differences in the way diseases present themselves within those populations, maybe even the frequency, the intensity of the disease, whether it causes death or not.”
Dr. McNeese encourages black Americans to be more proactive in their health care. He says they should educate themselves about their health care needs, seek out a personal physician and take advantage of the various health screenings offered in their communities.