By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — A health and research arm of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services received a $20,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to spread awareness about colorectal cancer.
ACCESS Community Health & Research Center announced the grant in December. Walgreens’ Way to Well Commitment, a community-based initiative, donated the grant.
Dr. Adnan Hammad, senior director at ACCESS Community Health, said the first-time one-year grant will go toward debunking stigmas against cancer screenings primarily for residents with a Middle Eastern background.
“This money is very important,” Hammad said. “The opportunity is even greater than the money because for Arab Americans and the general population, colorectal cancer is always being labeled with a lack of health-seeking behavior in relation to early detection and screening.”
The Walgreens’ initiative focuses on promoting health and prevention against diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Hammad said the goal of the campaign is to educate healthcare professionals, develop and distribute educational bilingual materials, and conduct local health education seminars.
Hammad said the campaign also will let people know that the cancer is preventable “if we engage in healthy screening after 50 years and above.”
Hammad said cancer control is faced with major barriers “including cultural inhibition around chronic diseases and access to care.”
“To the community at large, we must pay attention,” Hammad said.
Hammad said sometimes because of cultural reasons, men and women don’t seek colorectal cancer screenings.
“Most people are discovered with cancer at late stages,” Hammad said. “They are the ones who don’t get screened until their 70s.”
According to www.michigan.gov, the chances of having colorectal cancer increases after age 50 and more than nine out of 10 people with colorectal cancer are older than 50. Colorectal cancer is a significant cause of cancer-related deaths in Michigan. It is a commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women.
Hammad said one colorectal cancer prevention method is eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and little red meat.
“Those habits are good not only for cancer but other chronic diseases.” Hammad said. “If they don’t have access to health care, ACCCESS can help.”
For more information on ACCESS Community Health & Research Center call Hiam Hamade at 313-216-2206.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected].)