Men's Health Our Health

Beating Cancer Over Breakfast

Health-focused breakfast series helps educate black men about cancer

Black men suffer disproportionate rates of cancer diagnosis and death. According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for all cancers combined is 33 percent higher among African-American men than among their white counterparts. For African-American men aged 45 years or older, cancer is the first or second-leading cause of death after heart disease.

Despite these statistics, there have been few community-based efforts (Black Men Speak Inc. of Oakland, California; Chicago’s Project Brotherhood; Men of Color Health Awareness of Springfield, Massachusetts; and Black Men’s Health and Wellness Expo held in Orlando, Florida) designed to educate this population about cancer. With this in mind, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center held a series of breakfasts from 2008 to mid-2014 to improve awareness, screening and education among African-American men.

The breakfasts, held in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, Michigan, targeted African-American men aged 51 to 70 and discovered more than 50 percent of the participants were interested in:

The breakfast series concluded, through follow-up surveys and focus groups, that African-American men are interested in learning about health and willing to attend relevant events. The researchers hope their series of breakfasts will provide a blueprint for health professionals to develop similar ongoing programs.

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