Former Dallas Cowboys safety Darren Woodson and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to shine a light on racial disparities in the fight against cancer.
Woodson’s brother, Randy Luke, lost his battle with liver cancer in December of 2018. Woodson said he doesn’t want another family to go through a preventable illness like they did.
“That’s one thing about the American Cancer Society. There are so many resources out there that we just don’t tap into. It’s one of the issues that I am so involved in. This message is so important because those resources are there. It’s up to the African-American community to go and tap into those resources. Some of these issues are preventable if we could just get in front of it,” Woodson said.
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According to the American Cancer Society, African-Americans, collectively, have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the United States for most cancers. Black men also have the highest cancer incidence rate.
“The causes of these inequalities reflect social and economic disparities that affect cancer risk. We’re talking factors like education, access to healthy food as well as access to high-quality health care,” said Jeff Fehlis, Executive Vice President of the American Cancer Society. “Black Americans are faced with more significant challenges. We’re talking about getting access to care and screenings early on. The American Cancer Society has spent most of our 107 years really trying to reduce the cancer disparities and create a level playing field for anyone facing cancer treatment.”
Woodson said he has seen first-hand how those screenings and early detection can save lives. He just wishes he would have known before he lost his brother.
“It’s just like getting in the gym and taking care of yourself. We have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. It’s about getting those screenings and going to the doctor. It could save your life,” Woodson said.