I’m an African American Man Who Has Prostate Cancer

I had been getting PSA tests from the time they had PSA tests, as part of my annual physical. It had been normal. Then I started that same year doing a screening program in my church. It was at that screening program that I did it again, three months later, and it had gone to five point seven, which is means that I might have cancer.

My doctor said, “We’d better go and do a biopsy.” And they did a biopsy and they found the cancer. That was it.
That was 2004. I’m still alive while you are reading this.
I had surgery and had my prostate taken out. Today, everything is fine. Not much else to say about that.

I get a PSA test at least twice a year, at my screening as well as my physical, my annual physical.
Men … First of all, they’re ignorant of the disease. But even when they find out about the disease, they focus on the side-effects. Most black men don’t want anything to deal with anything that’s going to affect their sexual prowess. They just ignore it.

“I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear bad news.”

But as men get more educated, I find they become more responsive. Especially as they begin to learn that life goes on. Life goes on and a sexual life can go on, too. If they learn this, and get to appreciate this, and begin to appreciate the finality of death, as an alternative, they tend to come around. But it takes awhile.

These men want to live. These men do not want to die from this disease. It’s as simple as that. And this old issue of sexual side-effects does not affect them. These are men that are concerned about their health. That’s as simple as that. There’s no other explanation to it. And we’ve had a few of those men die of prostate cancer.

If you catch it early enough, this is a disease you can live with for a long time. And men, they tend to respond to that. It is a topic that a lot of African American men don’t even want to hear.

I talk to a lot of women. We talk about simply losing a family member. What is the impact on them of losing a family member, somebody they love. And let them understand the risk. If women understand the risk, and hear the high probability they have a man in their family that has a one in four chance of getting this disease, and if they don’t do anything about it, they have almost a two and a half time of dying from it. All right?

The generation we’re talking about now, this may be different in other generations now, but the generation we’re talking about are not men that are going to be exposed to on-line information.
The state prostate cancer organizations and most of the bigger organizations have’t done anything for African Americans. Other than stuff on the websites. You get a lot of stuff on our websites, that talks about the higher risk the African American men and promoting screening at a lower age, at thirty-five. And all of these things. You get all that stuff on the website. But we don’t have any real promotions from them, statewide, focusing on the African American community.

And to different media in your community. The key is that not only do you get the state organizations, coupled with local organizations, community based organizations like mine, but also getting the support groups in these different areas involved as well. Integrating business, and all that. I mean, that’s no small task, but it’s something you’ve got to do.