Bethel A.M.E. and Bryant Temple A.M.E. Churches are campaigning to raise awareness about the critical impact of prostate cancer among African American men.
The pastors of both parishes joined with Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., presiding prelate of the A.M.E. Church’s Fifth Episcopal District, and the Prostate Health Education Network, Inc. (PHEN) to host a symposium on the topic on June 14.
“We are in trouble and we can’t wait for others to help. We must take the initiative on our own to educate our community that Black men are at the highest risk for prostate cancer,” declared Dr. Clyde W. Oden, Jr., pastor of Bryant Temple, to the scores of men in attendance.
“Both Dr. Oden and I are prostate cancer survivors and can’t stress enough the importance of this issue, particularly when one out of five African American men are affected by this disease,” insisted Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, pastor of Bethel, who shared that his cancer was discovered during a routine annual health exam.
“Thanks to the early detection, intervention, surgery, and radiation, it’s now been three years and I’m doing fine and feeling great. We’re both of the opinion that it’s a curable disease and no African American male has to die from it.”
The agenda included remarks and presentations by Thomas A. Farrington, president and founder of PHEN; Dr. Stanley K. Frencher, assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Dr. Leo Doumanian, associate professor of Clinical Urology at Keck Medicine of USC; and Freddie Muse, president of the Men’s Cancer Network.
“African American men are diagnosed at higher rate, die twice as often from the disease than any other ethnic group, and are often diagnosed with more aggressive forms of the disease than any other ethnic group,” said Dr. Frencher.
“As a result, it’s important that African American men get tested starting at age 40 and continuing to the age of 70. Those diagnosed will have several choices of treatment depending on their risk level.”
Stressing the severity of the crisis, Dr. Doumanian said, “People must educate their neighbors, brothers, and families that African American men are at the highest risk of dying from this disease.”
Several organizations, facilities and online resources are available for information on prostate cancer. To learn more, visit RAPCancer.org.