Today I met “Joy” from the American Indian Cancer Foundation. She was a joy. Joy was outgoing, vivacious, and jam packed full of knowledge. I could of listened to her talk all day.
It was the 35th Annual Health Fair at Fond du Lac High School. I picked up the American Indian Cancer Foundations brochure but didn’t read it until I got home.
What struck me about it was the fact that American Indians and Alaska Natives face alarming inequities in cancer incidence and mortality. I have known this. I read the brochure that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. The brochure and website is more detailed.
As I entered the school today for the health fair, there was a sign about no smoking. I was impressed that they don’t have pop machines in the school. The lunch we had was outstanding in relationship to the food groups. We had been instructed to not bring candy. Diabetes in a problem in the Native American populations. My daughter had been an English teacher there many years ago, so I knew this fact. I even was a substitute teacher there for one week. I remember the high carb meals from government supplied food sources.
There is a high burden of cancer risk factors for this population of people. It is due to tobacco abuse (smoking and chewing), cigarette exposure, a diet high in animal fats and low in fiber, a diet lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables, lack of physical activity, obesity has increased as well as diabetes, alcohol abuse, and family genes that increase cancer risk.
The Fond du Lac reservation has community garden programs and are working at healthy foods in their diet.
How can you help? Share your story to help others. donate. Speak up as an advocate. Volunteer your times and talents. Contact them for more information.
Cancer rates have increased incidence by tribe, region and gender according to Cancer, Sept. 2008.
to find out more check out his website: www.americanindiancancer.org