NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – April is National Minority Cancer Awareness Month and the American Cancer Society says there is still significant work that needs to be done to close the health equity gap.

Jeff Fehlis, the executive vice president of the American Cancer Society’s South Region says African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any ethnic group in the US for most cancers.

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“No matter who they are or where they live, we just want everyone to have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat and survive cancer,” Fehlis says.

In addition, research by ACS shows black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.

To raise awareness about leveling the playing field when it comes to healthcare, the American Cancer Society has partnered with the WNBA Dallas Wings.

It is a topic that hits close to home for Dallas Wings player, and Dallas native, Moriah Jefferson, who lost her aunt to a battle with breast cancer.

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“I feel like if she were able to work to prevent it, to know to go get screenings, then maybe they could have caught the disease earlier and had a better fighting chance,” Jefferson says.

ACS has found that health care disparities can affect every step of cancer care — from prevention and screening to the quality of life after cancer treatment, which means disparities in care can affect who develops and dies from cancer.

“Letting people know there is something you can do early — you don’t have to wait,” Jefferson says.

“Getting regular screenings, getting mammograms and things like that will definitely help in our communities.”

The ACS has a ‘Cancer Helpline’ that is available 24/7 to those who need help finding or being connected to cancer-related resources.

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In addition, there is a portion of their website dedicated to ‘Cancer Disparities Research.

Madison Sawyer