September 2012 - Prostate Cancer Screening and Black Men

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Prostate Cancer Screening & Black Men:  It's not about YOU, but then again...

If you're an African-American male age of 45 and over, and you haven't had a serious conversation with your doctor about prostate cancer, shame on you.  Why?  Because getting serious about prostate cancer is really not about you-really, it's not.

Prostate cancer screening is about love and family.  It's about realizing that your children were not meant to be left to grow up without your love and guidance.   It's about you being there to protect, support and help your kids grow up to be smart successful young men and women. It's about your grandson or grand-daughter having the best seat in the house (on your shoulders) to view the parade or go for ice-cream. It's about walking your daughter down the aisle at her wedding. It's about calming your son's nerves at his wedding-reminding him that you've prepared him to take on the responsibilities of a wife and family-and he recognizes that you've set a good example.  It's about your elderly parents who are going to need your help and support as they battle the ills and challenges of aging.  Really, screening for prostate cancer is not about you at all-it's about them.

Prostate cancer screening is about friendships: all those wonderful folks who enjoy playing cards with you, traveling with you, or having your company at their backyard barbeques.  Friends, who talk about last night's football game and love to make a wager with you about who's going win this year's football championship; friends,  who enjoy a good joke, a day on the golf course, or who share a laugh with you at the barber shop.

Prostate cancer screening is about celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Celebrating your kids turning 21; celebrating another year of life with friends and family. It's about realizing your wife loves and needs you and looks forward to celebrating many wedding anniversaries with you.  It's about celebrating how far you've come and how far your children and grandchildren will go.  It's about being present for your grandchildren's baptism ceremony and their birthday parties.  It's about watching a new generation of family come of age.

Prostate cancer screening is about being around to create memories and enjoy the journey.  So if you're an African-American man, age 45 and over, follow the American  Cancer Society guidelines for prostate cancer screening.  And if you and your doctor determine that you need the digital rectal exam and/or the PSA test, please comply with the doctor's recommendations.  You and your friends might also want to check out our Special Feature this month at to learn how Black men are dealing with prostate cancer.

See your doctor, have the discussion.  And if you've already seen your doctor, make sure your male friends do the same. Because, it's not really about you-it's about family and love and friendships, and birthdays, and anniversaries, and creating wonderful memories-all the things that make life worth living.

With you on your journey to wellness....

Dr. Mary S. Harris

Helpful Links

American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer Guide

CNN - Doctors Seek Causes of Prostate Cancer in Black Men
Educate Yourself About Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Awareness  - Calling All Ladies


American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures for African-Americans 2009-2010,  page  26.

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