If you happened to stop by our offices this summer, chances are you would find staff from Native People for Cancer Control filling bags with our very special bean soup mix. Each bag is stuffed with five different kinds of beans and a small card with a soup recipe. Also on the card is information explaining how eating beans can reduce your risk of cancer. Our bean soup mix is intended to launch conversations at community events, where we often set up tables for health education.
We want to get Native people talking about colon health and sharing ideas about healthy and affordable food choices. We started distributing our packages at a winter powwow at the University of Washington, and we’ve kept going ever since. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the very positive reactions we’ve gotten from community members. We’ve had excellent conversations about the importance of eating food with plenty of dietary fiber. Talking about fiber often leads to conversations about colon cancer, and about the importance of getting screened with one of several available methods: fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), fecal immunochemical testing (FIT), and colonoscopies. Screening can detect problems before they become serious, so you can get the treatment you need to prevent colon cancer. So far we’ve given away more than 500 packets of bean soup mix, and we’ll continue handing them out during our next project year. Please look for us at community events and pick up a packet to take home!