Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently opened up about his private battle with prostate cancer since being diagnosed 11 years ago.
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer revealed how he’s had prostate cancer, leukemia and heart bypass surgery. He is sharing his story in order to shed light on the health challenges facing black people.
While he’s received some of the best medical attention over the years as an NBA star, he’s aware of how others in the Black community do not.
In an essay, Abdul-Jabbar pointed out that some of the health issues black people are prone to as a group include diabetes, heart problems, obesity and cancer.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial group for all cancers combined, and have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease than other groups. This trend is continuing with COVID-19, which Abdul-Jabbar highlighted in his essay.
Abdul-Jabbar pointed out how more black people are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates because they are essential workers.
Based on data from several states, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Black and Latino communities across the U.S. hard, killing people of color at a disproportionate rate compared to white Americans.
The fact that people of color have more face-to-face jobs with people, they are more likely to be involved in healthcare, and they have to use public transportation. Those factors in and of themselves will make the people of color more susceptible, more vulnerable to a pandemic.