WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of the impact of cancer on the African American, Hispanic, and Asian American communities, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and its members are calling upon minority patients and their health care providers to help reduce the risk of cancer through dedicated prevention efforts and regular cancer screenings.
While cancer death rates have declined among African Americans, 1 in 2 African American men and 1 in 3 African American women will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, according to the American Cancer Society.
Approximately 20 percent of cancers are preventable, and nurse practitioners emphasize the importance of strong patient-provider partnerships to create individualized treatment plan that help patients manage their weight, increase their physical activity, reduce their intake of alcohol, and quit smoking and using tobacco products. Some cancers are caused by chronic infections, which may be prevented, in cases like HPV, through vaccination, or treated through other means.
"Early identification of cancer is critical to improving patient outcomes in every patient population," said Cindy Cooke, AANP President. "We recommend patients work closely with their health care provider to understand the screenings most beneficial to them, based upon their age, gender, and risk factors. Screenings for breast, colon and rectal, cervical, prostate, lung and skin cancer all help detect cancer early and save lives."
Eighty percent of nurse practitioners (NPs) are focused on primary care with an emphasis on disease prevention and health management. In addition, NPs' specialty areas include oncology, in which they specialize and provide care for patients with cancer. NPs handle over 990 million patient visits per year.
"It's important that patients know the cancer screenings most important to their own health and the early warning signs to look for and make an appointment with their health care provider," said James LaVelle Dickens, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, U.S. Public Health Service, Office of Minority Health, Region VI and a Fellow of AANP. "These symptoms can mimic other conditions and include: unexplained weight loss, fatigue, pain, skin changes, bloating, bleeding, lymph node changes, difficulty swallowing, heart burn, and more."
"Patients shouldn't ignore their symptoms. They should see their health care provider for evaluation," said Dickens.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of more than 205,000 NPs, including more than 66,000 individual members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care. The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. For more information, visit www.aanp.org. To locate a nurse practitioner in your area, visit www.npfinder.com.
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SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners