Brockton NAACP: Black men at higher risk of prostate cancer

Join Good Samaritan's Cancer Program Medical Director A. Jason Zauls, MD, and leaders of medicine Thursday, March 14 to learn more about early detection and innovative studies of less invasive methods to treat prostate cancer. Register for this free event: https://bit.ly/2Cgk0IN

By Marc Larocque 
Enterprise Staff Writer 
Posted Mar 11, 2019 at 5:41 PM  

Brockton NAACP: Black men at higher risk of prostate cancer

The Brockton Area NAACP is holding an event on Thursday, March 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church, 1367 Main St., to raise awareness about prostate cancer, and the high rate of prostate cancer in the African-American and Hispanic communities.

You better get your prostate checked. Especially if you’re a black man.

That’s the message the Brockton Area Branch NAACP is spreading at an upcoming event on Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church, 1367 Main St. As part of an ongoing series of events spanning four years, the Brockton Area Branch NAACP is partnering with Good Samaritan Medical Center and the Boston-based AdMeTech Foundation to hold a forum to raise awareness about prostate cancer, and the high rate of prostate cancer in the African-American and Hispanic communities.

“This is to empower men who are at risk of prostate cancer, which includes black men of African heritage and Hispanic heritage,” said Stephen Bernard, past president of the Brockton Area Branch NAACP, who has been spearheading the prostate cancer campaign in Brockton. “It’s a crisis. ... It behooves the Brockton NAACP that services cities and towns around Brockton to empower men, particularly men of color who are at high risk, to be tested. Early detection increases survival rates significantly.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer, and have double the risk of dying from low-grade prostate cancer when compared to other races. The National Cancer Institute, which is part of the federal National Institutes of Health, points to studies showing that 0.4 percent of African-American men who get low-grade prostate cancer end up dying from the disease, compared to the 0.22 percent of men from other races.

Bernard said Plymouth County has the highest incidence of prostate cancer compared to every county in the state. And black men and Hispanic men develop prostate cancer at a rate 2 1/2 times higher than that of Caucasians, Bernard said.

“So we are encouraging people to get out to learn about early detection,” Bernard said. “They should learn about innovative studies of less invasive methods to treat prostate cancer, for those who have the disease.”

Two prostate cancer survivors will also be giving testimony during the event. Bernard said the disease can affect people from all walks of life and economic strata, including “prominent families” in Brockton.

“Prostate cancer does not discriminate,” Bernard said. “It’s anyone, regardless of socio-economic status.”

Bernard encouraged not only men to attend, but also their loved ones, to learn more about the disease.

“Cancer is family situation,” he said.

Three expert doctors, including one from Good Samaritan, another from St. Elizabeth Medical Center and another from a private urology practice will be on hand, providing information and answering questions from the public.

“The general rule is that at 50 years and older, you should be tested for prostate cancer,” Bernard said. “Among blacks and those people of high risk, it is even suggested that as early as 40 years old can be a good idea to get tested.”

The event on Thursday will begin with registration at 6 p.m. and light refreshments, before the speaking program begins around 7 p.m., Bernard said. The prostate cancer awareness events have been held twice each year for the past four years, Bernard said.

“We have been delivering this message to the community for four years now,” Bernard said. “We realize that men are less likely to be aware of the crisis of prostate cancer, unless we and other concerned people get the word out. ... We’ve been very happy to report that the feedback has been excellent. There are men who’s lives have been saved because they have attended our sessions, and subsequently have been tested. ... There is hope. And you should be tested, certainly if you are one of those men at risk.”
 

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