January 14, 2012
Dear Dr. Thomas A. Farley, Commissioner, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene,
My name is Mei Chew and I am a Nursing student at LaGuardia Community College. I am currently taking Community Health course whereby we have an assignment to look into the health issues in our neighborhood. In examining the Community Health Profiles, Second Edition-2006, from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, I
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80%), and their rate of getting mammograms for breast cancer is 74% which is at least 11% lower than Take Care New York target rate. In addition, only 42% of adults aged 50 and older in North Queens have had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years, which means more than half of these men have not had the screening. The highest cancer-related death rates among men in North Queens are due to lung cancer (38%) and colon cancer (18%). Among women, lung cancer (23%) and breast cancer (20%) are the main causes of cancer-related death. This coincides with a higher percentage of smokers (20% of adults) in North Queens compared to Queens (16%) and NYC overall (18%). Besides screening for cancer, North Queens residents are less likely to have been tested for HIV (15%) than those in NYC overall (23%). It is highly alarming that 44% of positive HIV test results are in late diagnoses (already progressed to AIDS) in this community.
As a primary intervention, adopting specific lifestyle behaviors and getting vaccinated can lower the risk of getting cancer. Lifestyle behaviors include avoiding tobacco product and secondhand smoke, minimizing alcohol intake, following a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing safe sex. Raising awareness about the impact people can have on their health status through adopting healthy lifestyles is a step towards cancer prevention.