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Black History: Special Delivery!!


Health Disparities

Yes! Black People Can Get Skin Cancer

Welcome to Black Mail where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Time to spill the tea on skin cancer! If you have skin, you can get skin cancer. 3 Million+ people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. While it’s true that black people have a lower risk of developing skin cancer, it is also true that they are more likely to have lower survival rates when they are diagnosed. The Skin Cancer Foundation defines skin cancer as “the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70.” The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

People of all skin tones get skin cancer. And, yes, you can get skin cancer even without having prolonged sun exposure or sunburn. Skin cancer is often diagnosed in Black people at later stages. Even when found at an early stage (before it had spread), on average, statistics show that Black people don’t survive as long as White people. Later diagnosis can be deadly when a person has the type of skin cancer known as melanoma. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers but is more dangerous because it can spread to other parts of the body if untreated. In general, any skin cancer can be challenging to treat in later stages. Fortunately, most skin cancers, including melanoma, can be cured with early detection.

Continue reading Yes! Black People Can Get Skin Cancer

Cancer Culture:  How Structural Racism & Cancer is Attacking The Black Community

Welcome to Black Mail, where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

Let’s talk about CANCER Culture! Black Americans have the highest death rate and lowest survival rates of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. These numbers are also alarming when considering that about 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths are preventable.

Cancer is a set of diseases resulting from abnormal cells’ uncontrolled growth. Death can result if these diseased cells’ spread cannot be controlled. According to the American Cancer Association, About 224,080 new cancer cases and 73,680 cancer deaths are expected to occur among Black people in 2022. The causes of cancer are not fully understood. We do know that many factors are known to increase risk. We also know that many risk factors are modifiable/preventable (Example:  tobacco use and excess body weight). Approximately 1 in 3 black people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. About 1 in 5 Black men and 1 in 6 Black women will die from cancer. This data is alarming. There is also concern regarding how COVID-19 will potentially increase health disparities amongst communities of color, including possible increased cancer diagnosis and cancer-related deaths due to disruptions in screening and treatment related to the pandemic. It will take years to understand the impact of COVID 19 in this regard.

This post will share eight ways cancer is impacting Black communities. This information and more data can be found on the American Cancer Society website

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Hip Hop Public Health: Using Music, Art, And Science To Address Health Disparities In Communities Of Color

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) leverages the powerful trifecta of music, art, and science to increase health literacy, inspire positive behavior change, and promote health equity.  The non-profit was founded in 2014 by Dr. Olajide Williams and music artist Doug E. Fresh.  Dr. Williams is a neurologist and tenured professor at Columbia University.  Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Olajide Williams was born prematurely in his mother’s car in 1969.  His premature birth resulted in him having many health issues.  He spent the first year of his life in the hospital on a breathing machine. The breathing issues continued for years and resulted in frequent hospitalizations. 

Williams was enrolled in a boarding school in England in 1978.  His time at the school was difficult, as he struggled to find his place in the new environment due to his health challenges and his race.  Williams discovered that he felt most comfortable when in the company of medical staff at his school’s clinic.  Williams later returned to Nigeria where he completed medical school.  As a medical student, he was troubled by seeing many children dying from preventable conditions such as tetanus and other diseases that result from consuming contaminated drinking water. These concerns began to spark his interest in public health. 

Continue reading “Hip Hop Public Health: Using Music, Art, And Science To Address Health Disparities In Communities Of Color”

Tour For Diversity In Medicine: Encouraging Minority Students To Pursue Medical Careers

Black History: Special Delivery!!

tour for diversity in medicine
Dr. Kameron Matthews (Right) and Dr. Alden Landry (left)

Dr. Kameron Matthews and Dr. Alden Landry are cofounders of “Tour For Diversity in Medicine”. Twice per year, doctors travel the country by bus visiting selected high schools, colleges, and universities to encourage students of color to pursue careers in health professions. Tour For Diversity in Medicine was launched in 2011. Dr. Matthews recalls that one day she and Dr. Landry were on the phone and asked themselves, “Why don’t we just get on the bus? Instead of students coming to see us, because not all students have that capability all the time, why don’t we go see them?” And that’s exactly what they are doing today. In addition to having doctors, the organization also has medical students who serve as mentors participate in the tour. The mission of the organization is: To educate, inspire and cultivate future physicians and dentists of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds by forming local connections in order to fulfill a national need”

The bus tour consists of 15-20 minority doctors all of whom volunteer to visit different schools twice per year. They share their personal experiences and insights to encourage students of color to consider health careers. 2014 was a milestone year for enrollment of students in color in medical schools. At each stop on the tour students are engaged in a full day workshop that shares info about how to apply for medical school, admissions testing, financial aid, interviewing skills, as well as info on health disparities. More than 2,000 students have been reached through the tours. Though most of the info students need can be found online, the goal of the tour is to help students develop relationships that would inspire them to pursue a medical career.

The 2015 Fall Tour kicks off on October 22. The tour will visit Portland State University, Washington State University and University of Washington, Kudos to Dr. Matthews and Dr. Landry for taking their show on the road to inspire young people of color!


Did you catch yesterday’s Black Mail post?  Click the link below to view yesterdays post featuring Edith Sampson, the first African American female judge to be elected by popular vote and the first African American to be a representative to the United Nations.

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