COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Hearing you’ve been diagnosed with cancer can be devastating.
Unfortunately, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Mississippi.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, from 2011 to 2015, more than 17,000 Mississippians died from some form of cancer.
The study divided the state into five regions to show where cancer is the most prevalent and which age group, race, and gender is impacted the most.
“The increased number of cancer deaths in the state of Mississippi can be contributed to the issues of smoking, issues with access to care, and also issues with not finding cancer early,” said Mary Rush, a registered nurse and cancer navigator at Baptist Memorial Hospital.
The study showed that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among African-American women with just over 3,000 dying from the disease.
“Sometimes due to lack of insurance or availability of the screenings methods such as a mammogram, I believe that’s one of the biggest barriers to African-American women getting breast cancer and catching these cancers early,” said Rush.
When it comes to African-American males, prostate and colon cancers are the leading causes of cancer deaths with more than four thousand dying due to the disease.
“I believe that our dietary practices, as well as not necessarily understanding the process of a colonoscopy, or even knowing that it’s time to get your colonoscopy, 50 years is the recommended age, I believe that colon cancer in African-American men, the death rate is due to those factors,” Rush expressed.
However, in white men and women, it was another form of cancer they’re being impacted by, lung cancer.
The study shows just over 4,000 males and nearly 3,000 women died from the disease.
“We certainly know that smoking is one of the highest contributors to lung cancer, actually it’s the greatest causes of cancer in the lungs,” said Rush.
Rush said being educated on these diseases, along with screenings and early testing, are a few ways to help decrease these cancer rates.
BMH offers educational services and screenings to help people treat and and stay on top of cancer diseases.
On January 25, the hospital will host a free prostate screening for all males over the age of 40.
The screenings take place from 8 to 11:45 a.m. then resume from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information on cancer statistics in the state, just visit https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/7952.pdf for more information.