Doctor is In: African American heart health & cancer prevention - Fox 2 News Headlines


The Doctor is In: African American heart health & cancer prevention

Posted: Updated: Feb 12, 2014 11:31 AM EST

On Wednesday, join Deena Centofanti and two specialists from Henry Ford Hospital as they discuss African American heart health and cancer prevention.

Beginning at 8:45, ask your questions in the chat room above.


  • African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers.
  • Overall, about 1 in 2 African American men and 1 in 3 African American women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and breast cancer the most common in women.
  • Cancers of the lung and colorectal are second- and third-most commonly diagnosed cancers in both African American men and women.
  • The four most common cancers - breast, prostate, colorectal and lung - account for more than half of all cancer cases among African Americans.


  • For African American women, the risk of heart disease is especially great. Heart disease is more prevalent among black women than white women, as are some of the factors that increase the risk of developing it - high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
  • More than 80 percent of midlife African American women are overweight or obese, 52 percent have high blood pressure, and 14 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • African American women develop high blood pressure earlier in life and have higher average blood pressures compared with white women.
  • High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and congestive heart failure-and African American women have high rates of both.
  • About one in five African American women smokes. A year after quitting, heart disease risk will drop by more than half.


Robert Chapman, M.D.
Director, Josephine Ford Cancer Institute
Division Head, Hematology/Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital

Dr. Robert Chapman is the director of the Josephine Ford Cancer Institute at Henry Ford Hospital and a highly respected lung cancer specialist.

Celeste Williams, M.D.
Director, Cardiac Transplantation Mechanical Circulatory Support Device Program
Henry Ford Hospital

Dr. Celeste Williams is a cardiologist and researcher, as well as the medical director of Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Device Program at Henry Ford Hospital. Her clinical interests include treatment to improve quality and patient safety in advanced heart failure patients, and numerous community health initiatives.

To learn more about the Josephine Ford Cancer Institute, visit


African Americans & Lung Cancer

  • Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in America. And if you are African American, you are more likely to develop lung cancer than any other population group in the U.S.
  • 1 in 13 African American men are at risk from developing and/or dying from lung cancer.
  • African American men are 37 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men, even though their overall exposure to cigarette smoke - the primary risk factor for lung cancer - is lower.
  • African American women tend to smoke less than white women but the two groups have similar lung cancer rates.

Minority Women and Heart Disease Awareness

  • Most women don't know their biggest health threat. It's not breast cancer.  It's heart disease. Yet most women still think heart disease is man's disease.
  • A report from the American Heart Association showed that African American and Hispanic women are less aware of their risk of heart disease.
  • One of every four American women dies of heart disease.
  • About 6 million American women have coronary heart disease.
  • Two-thirds of American women who have had a heart attack don't make a full recovery.
  • Heart disease can permanently damage your heart and your life.
  • The Red Dress Campaign has one purpose - to remind everyone, and women in particular - that our hearts are very important.

Cancer Screenings: The Benefit of Early Detection

  • There are many reliable, proven cancer screenings tools and tests available to men that detect cancer early, including PSA for prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer is curable in 90 percent of cases when detected early.
  • Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer by far, but it is curable if discovered early.
  • Men with a significant history of smoking should get a low-dose spiral CT scan. The scan detects lung cancer before there are any symptoms, greatly reducing the risk of death.

Simple Steps to Avoid Heart Disease

  • Don't smoke, and if you do, quit. Women who smoke are 2 - 6 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smoking women. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke and cancer.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. It's important for a long, vigorous life. Being overweight or obese causes many preventable deaths.
  • Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Share your heart-healthy habit with a loved one.
  • Eat for heart health. Read nutritional labels. A diet of unhealthy fats and cholesterol can clog arteries. Look for foods with unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Salt can raise blood pressure.
  • Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

  • The best way to prevent cancer is to lower your risk. Top of the list: quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Screening and early detection save lives - a new CT screening is being used for heavy smokers to diagnose lung cancer; mammograms for breast cancer; pap smears for cervical cancer; prostate exams; and colonoscopy for colorectal cancer.
  • Don't eat processed meats. Studies show that processed meat is a likely causative factor for colorectal cancer - the second biggest killer for men, after lung cancer.
  • Know your radon gas exposure. Most people don't know their lifetime radon gas exposure or their exposure at home. It's as easy as getting a kit from your local hardware store, especially if you have young kids.

Heart Disease Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure (increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Even levels slightly above normal increase risk.)
  • High cholesterol (Excess cholesterol and fat in your blood builds up in the walls of vessels that supply blood to the heart and can lead to blockages.)
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a family history of early heart disease
  • Age (55 or older for women - After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease, in part because their bodies no longer produces estrogen.)
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