What Can We Do To Defeat Breast Cancer?

Early Detection

One of the keys to successfully defeating breast cancer is catching it early. It has been estimated that finding breast cancer early can mean a survival rate of 97%. One part of catching breast cancer early in black women is to develop a breast cancer screening programme for black women that start earlier. Currently breast cancer screening in the UK starts at 50 years old and as we now know that a significant number of black women develop breast cancer on average in their mid forties it would thus be more effective to begin screening black women at an earlier age. The second part of catching breast cancer early is to create a greater awareness amongst black women about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Armed with this information black women must endeavour to carry out a regular breast self examinations looking out for changes in their breasts that are not associated with menstruation. The signs and symptoms to look our for include:

  • Changes in the size and shape of breasts
  • Changes in the skin texture – puckering, dimpling
  • An inverted/retracted nipple
  • A bloodstained discharge from one or both nipples
  • A lump in the breast or armpit
  • Pain in the breast that doesn’t go away with your period

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Breast Cancer

What is Cancer? 

To understand cancer we have to have some appreciation of human biology. Our body is made up of minuscule entities called cells; these are the basic unit of life. Similar types of cells come together to form our tissues (e.g: muscle tissue, brain tissue etc), groups of tissues form our organs and then organs come together to form systems (e.g: cardio- vascular system, nervous system). Cancer is a disease of the smallest unit of our body – the cell. It develops when cells within our body obtain a series of defects that result in their uncontrollable growth. These cells are thus able to grow and divide into multiple defective cells that form a mass called a tumour.

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Black Women and Breast Cancer

For black women the news is good and bad. Good because black women are significantly less likely (one-third less likely) to develop breast cancer than white women. The bad news is that a higher percentage of black women die from breast cancer than white women. Studies in the US have shown that black women are 30% more likely to die from breast cancer and in the UK it has been shown that black women are two times more likely to die from breast cancer. In addition to this, numerous studies have shown that when black women do get cancer they tend to get it at a much younger age than white women with a recent study in the UK showing that black women are diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years younger than white women, (an average of 46 years old compared to an average of 67 years old for white women).

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Lactose Intolerance

Lactose malabsorption (LM): lactose deficiency, lactose intolerance, milk intolerance.

The consumption of animal milk has been sold as a natural and healthy way to take calcium into the body. However, in the case of the African community this could not be any more further from the truth.

Milk is one of the essential building blocks for all infant mammals who nurse from the mother’s milk rich in lactose. Lactose is a milk sugar, a disaccharide and principle carbohydrate source in milk of land animals.

To ingest milk the lactose is hydrolyzed (processed) in the small intestines, for this to happen the small intestines secretes the enzyme called lactase which splits the lactose molecule in two producing sugar glucose and galactose; this is then absorbed into the bloodstream. If the lactose remains unhydrolyzed i.e not processed it can lead to intestinal symptoms including stomach gas, distension, flatulence, diarrhea, phlegm and vomiting. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest and absorb lactose which is a condition that occurs naturally in the majority of adults globally especially those who are highly melenated.

Lactose absorbers are those who can hydrolyze (process) lactose to produce glucose which is absorbed into the blood. Lactose malabsorbers are those people who cannot process lactose and so glucose is not absorbed. Many people who are lactose malabsorbers are able to consume milk daily with no signs of distress.

As children humans have a high intestinal lactase activity so the in take of milk is much easier. After weaning off the mother’s milk the lactase activity declines to great lows for the remainder of the person’s life. This happens with no experience of intestinal illnesses; the process of decline in lactase activity and the beginning of lactose malabsorption (the inability to digest milk) is normal in nearly all land mammals. There have been some cases however where the process of lactose malbsorption (LM) is delayed until a person’s teens or adulthood.

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Why Afrikans Should Avoid Sugar

Why Afrikans Should Avoid Sugar by Kwame Osei

Over the years Afrikans have taken sugar (especially white) as part of their diet

Sugar is one of the most dangerous foods there is because it is the one food that can cause a whole array of disease such as kidney failure, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

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The importance of Herbs

The importance of Herbs – an interview with Patricia Ferguson

What do you think about our community’s understanding of herbs?

The NHS was created in 1945. At the same time the manufacturing of chemical drugs began. Before then people relied on medicinal herbs. The prescription drugs we take now such as Aspirin are manufactured from an isolated chemical, salicin, extracted from the bark of the Willow plant. Isolated chemicals become more powerful, but often have accompanying side effects, without the balancing effects of the whole plant.
Our parents and generations before them used herbs, but somehow there is an impression that today’s trained herbalists are doing something new. In Jamaica where my parents are from, there is no NHS and medicines and treatment is expensive. Many people continue to use herbal remedies to self- medicate with great success, but we seem to have lost that connection due to our dependence on prescription drugs.

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Foods Chart


Type Sources Benefits
Vitamin A Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and Kale, Cantaloupe, Apricots, Peaches, Papayas, and Mangos. Prevents eye problems, promotes a healthy immune system.

Essential for the growth and development of cells and keeping skin healthy.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Red berries, Kiwi, Orange, Tomatoes.

Red and Green Bell Peppers, , Broccoli, Spinach, Guava, Grapefruit, and Yam.

Forms collagen (a tissue used to hold cells together) which is essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels.

Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and calcium,

Helps in brain functioning

Vitamin D Made by the body through exposure to sunlight. Helps the body absorb bone-building calcium.
Vitamin E Vegetable oils, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Avocados, wheat germ, and whole grains. An antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage and is important for the health of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 helps to make red blood cells, and is important for nerve cell function.
Vitamin B6 Potatoes, bananas, beans, seeds, nuts, spinach. Vitamin B6 used to maintain brain and nerve functions.

Helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells.

Thiamin (vitamin B1) Dried Beans, Soy Foods, and Peas; and Whole Grains e.g. Wheat Germ. Converts carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for the heart, muscles, and nervous system to function properly.
Niacin (vitamin B3) Peanuts. Turns food into energy and maintains healthy skin and is important for nerve function.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) Legumes (like peas and lentils), Nuts, Green Leafy Vegetables, Broccoli, Asparagus, and Fortified Cereals. Very important for turning carbohydrates into energy and producing red blood cells. It is also needed for vision.
Folate (vitamin B9, folic acid, or folacin) Dried beans and other legumes, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, oranges and other citrus fruits, and poultry are good sources of this vitamin. So are fortified or enriched bread, noodles, and cereals. Makes red blood cells and required for making DNA.

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Derin Bepo on Our Foods

What pains you most about our community’s health?

The age and profile of people over 35 and 40 have issues with blood sugar, blood pressure and the reproduction health in females. It also pains me to see our intake of processed cooking oils and the huge impact it has on health.

What hurts me most is the level of trust we place in mainstream medical systems. I have seen people with high blood pressure start with 2 types of medication and end up with 4 after seeing the doctor and still not getting better at all.

Too many people believe the lie – they think they are incurable and accept being ill and their declining health. Increasing numbers of people are getting sicker and sicker. When we are in the medical system we get really bad treatment.

When we say these illnesses can be resolved and a brother can help you. The response is usually, “If the white man can’t help me then who are you?”

We trust in the western educated doctor more than our own people, which is sad.

Also, was is really sad is that the young people have no awareness, and don’t see the problems coming. We must warn them!!

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Prostate problems in Afrikan/Black Men

Special Health Report: Prostate problems in Afrikan/Black Men By Kwame Osei

According to research in the US and UK, Prostate cancer is amongst THE TWO biggest killers of Afrikan men. This special report seeks to ask what prostate cancer is, its causes and what can be done to prevent the disease.

The prostate is partly muscle and gland. It is about the size of a walnut with a donut shape. It is directly underneath the bladder and surrounds the tube (urethra) that allows urine to flow out of the bladder and pass out through the penis.

The prostrate secretes a thin cloudy alkaline fluid that helps make up seminal fluid. The muscular contractions of the prostate squeeze the prostatic fluids and help mix it with semen and sperm – The muscles help to ejaculate.

There are many types of prostate diseases and many factors that can cause prostate problems. There are two main categories of prostate problems. They are:

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Melanin in the Body

What is MELANIN?

Melanin is a chemical, made up of subunits of chemicals which are influenced by enzymes (protein molecules used to digest food, produce energy, and purify the blood) to build a stable and resilient compound. This compound is distributed through the body of pigmented people (Kittles 1995).
This stable and resilient compound gives many benefits to the body of melinated people.
The importance of melanin is hidden all too often for a variety of reasons but it is fundamental we can identify where is resides in us and why this extremely precious chemical makes us so unique.
Melanin can appear in a variety of different colours but is predominantly black or dark in colour and is found in the earth as well as throughout the human body.
Melanin is in all of us and is situated in many areas such as:

  • Central Nervous System
  • Autonomic (Automatic) Nervous System
  • Peripheral (outlaying, surface) nervous System
  • Diffuse Neuroendocrine (Glands) System Visceras (Major Internal Organs)

African (Black) people tend to have more organs that contain high concentrations of melanin. It is fundamental to remember melanin is a gift responsible for many of our capabilities.
Melanin is the basis of pigment and even in the first stages of human life as an embryo melanin is present as the body forms in a variety of essential regions such as the brain, hair, skin, eyes and genitals.
It is important to recognise the immense strength of melanin which appears to be a substance that is almost indestructible. Studies illustrates that when exposed to 600°c melanin still retains nearly 50% of its original properties, it has a strong resistance to decay and can also be found in 1,000 year old mummies.

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