Today is World Cancer Day and I stand as a prostate cancer survivor, compelled to share my perspective as a doctor, husband, father, grandfather, past president of the National Medical Association and founder of the African American Wellness Project (AAWP).
In the wake of the recent losses of iconic figures like Dexter Scott King and Iconic Radio Host and Activist Joe Madison to prostate cancer, along with the recent diagnosis of US Chief of Staff Lloyd Austin, I’m here to tell you that prostate cancer is a battle that Black men and those who love them must face together, and awareness is our first line of defense.
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer among Black men, with a mortality rate twice as high as that of our white counterparts. Even more distressing, Black men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer are 27% less likely to receive treatment compared to white men facing the same condition.
But while a prostate cancer diagnosis may seem daunting, it is also one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Timely diagnosis is the key to achieving better outcomes and a higher rate of survival.
Some of the disparities in prostate cancer can be attributed to financial barriers, less access to adequate health facilities in Black communities, and medical mistrust that leads to less routine care.
In response to these troubling disparities, AAWP issues a resounding call to action for Black men across the nation: hashtag #ProtectYourHealth. Black men must remain vigilant about regular prostate cancer screenings, beginning at age 40 because early diagnosis is the weapon needed for victory. This is a battle we can win, but it demands that each of us takes charge of our health.
My non-profit, the African American Wellness Project, is dedicated to addressing health disparities in the African American community. We are here to serve as a beacon of hope and knowledge, enabling and encouraging African Americans to better navigate the healthcare system, advocate for their health, and receive improved care, regardless of insurance or circumstances.
- Ways to prevent prostate cancer
- What to do if you’ve been diagnosed
- How to choose the right prostate cancer treatment for you
- 5 things Black men should know about their prostate cancer risk
- What to know about prostate cancer screening
Together, we can raise awareness, break down barriers, and ensure that every Black man is informed about the risks, the signs, and treatment of prostate cancer.
Let us honor the legacies of those we have lost by taking action to improve the health and equality of all. Join the fight for Black male prostate health because Black Male Lives Matter! Get screened, get informed, #ProstateHealthMatters
Visit aawellnessproject.org for more information.