NEW BRUNSWICK– Seeking better health outcomes for one of New Jersey’s fastest growing populations, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) has partnered with the Shri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation and the Satrangi School of Fusion, to educate South Asian-Americans about their risks for cancer.
During a Sept. 24 event at St. Demetrius Community Center: 691 Roosevelt Avenue, Carteret, an exciting style of community education will be featured through the use of Bollywood dance and music. CINJ is a Center of Excellence at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The SKN Foundation is a community outreach education organization with the mission to address health disparities and to improve the delivery of culturally competent health care to South Asians, including the promotion of cancer awareness.
Bollywood, the Indian equivalent of Hollywood, has had a huge impact on the South Asian community and is an integral part of the daily activities of its members. This dance drama event designed as a celebration of life traverses the lifespan of a healthy person who is diagnosed with cancer and has to deal with the emotional and physical issues surrounding the disease. Preventive health messages from CINJ experts and other health professionals will be shared with the audience between acts.
The event, which features 100 performers and begins at 8:00 p.m., also commemorates Minority and Multicultural Health Month. Tickets are a suggested donation of $15 and can be obtained by calling the Satrangi School of Fusion at 877-SATRANGI or by e-mailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are pleased to be working with the SKN Foundation on delivering important messages about cancer and cancer prevention to the South Asian community,” said CINJ Director Robert S. DiPaola, MD, professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “This creative approach will allow us to share this very important information with hundreds of people.”
SKN Foundation Founder and Trustee Naveen Mehrotra, MD, MPH, who has a background in healthcare as a clinical assistant professor at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says awareness of cancer is a key aspect of preventive health measures.
“There are many stigmas and fears associated with the word ‘cancer,’ as it is often equated to a death threat. The belief in the South Asian community is that if there are no problems, one should not visit the doctor or go for any preventive screenings. Therefore, many South Asians do not get needed medical care until it is too late,” said Dr. Mehrotra. “Especially with women’s health, there are cultural barriers and priority issues where the woman leaves her health as the last issue to address. In her role as the family caretaker, she performs all of her obligations without taking care of herself.”
Data from the last U.S. Census in 2000 showed that in New Jersey, the South Asian-American population grew by 101,000 in the 1990’s to 181,000. Census data now being compiled are likely to show further growth in this population. The most common cancers that affect this group are breast, prostate, colorectal and ovarian. CINJ and the SKN Foundation are working together to improve cancer awareness and provide educational information in a number of languages specific to the South Asian community.
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