(Courtesy photo)

The American Cancer Society (ACS) announces the launch of “Get Screened for Cancer Day” taking place Wednesday, November 16, 2022, to highlight the need for cancer screening in the African American community and the importance of having conversations with loved ones about getting screened.

The nationwide screening campaign features partnerships with community-based organizations and celebrity influencers as well as a social media campaign to encourage individuals to get screened, learn how to have the conversation with others, and share personal screening stories.

“Today is the day to have The Conversation about cancer screenings with your loved ones and then be The Conversation for yourself,” stated Dr. Robert Winn, director and Lipman chair in Oncology of VCU Massey Cancer Center and a member of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

“Schedule screenings you have missed and do what it takes to get your family and friends to their appointments — whether that is making the phone call or committing to drive them to the doctor’s office. Early detection increases the likelihood of survivorship, and we all have a responsibility to take that message to the masses.”

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Regular cancer screening can detect changes in your body before cancer develops, and screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies can catch cancer early when it may be easier to treat.

“You can’t play around with your life,” said Dave Ford, colon cancer survivor and ACS Cancer Action Network board member. “Loving yourself means that you’re going to do the right thing to get screened, so you can be around to witness a childbirth, weddings, a high school and college graduation of your children or a grandchild. Getting screened gives you a greater chance of survival.”

One in two men and one in three women will face cancer in their lifetime. Yet, many wait until they have symptoms to visit a doctor. Screening tests, for people without symptoms, check certain parts of the body at regular intervals to detect changes that may develop into cancer and can catch them early.

“The COVID pandemic highlighted health disparities throughout the African American community, and cancer screenings are not exempt,” said Dr. Winn. “More and more African Americans put plans for screenings on pause, and it has the potential to move the needle in the wrong direction for a population that already has the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group for most cancers.”

Cancer screenings are safe, effective, and should be a regular part of your life. Cancer doesn’t wait and neither should you. Talk to your loved ones about getting regular cancer screening. Even if you think you don’t need to, talk to a doctor about what screening tests may be right for you.

There are resources available for people who don’t have a primary care doctor, who are uninsured or underinsured, or who have never been screened. Many states also have free or low-cost cancer screening programs.

Find guidance and screening resources for you or a loved one at cancer.org/get-screened.