Prostate cancer survivors urge African American men to get screenings
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Men, especially African Americans, are encouraged to undergo prostate screenings.
According to medical experts, nearly 3,000 cases will be diagnosed in the state this year.
Many of the men gathered Friday at the MS Two Museums had one thing in common, surviving Prostate Cancer. The “You Are Not Alone Prostate Cancer Support Self-Help Group” launched a campaign to raise awareness.
Their mission is to encourage other men to get prostate screenings. Experts say African Americans are 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.
“As of August of this year 16 years cancer free,” said Lloyd Ellis of Jackson.
A friend dying of prostate cancer encouraged Ellis to take a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test.
“Wasn’t having any problems. So I decided after he passed away I said ‘Well let me fulfill what he asked me to do,’ said Ellis. “So I went and had it done and went to Doctor Frazier, and he checked the PSA level was high.”
A follow-up rectal exam discovered one side of the prostate larger than the other. A biopsy found cancer cells. Doctors recommend prostate screenings by age 45.
“In Mississippi, the American Cancer Society suggests that in 2023, there will be about 2,800 new cases of prostate cancer expected and about 370 deaths,” said Urologist Dr. Lionel Frazier.
“My Dad died in 1996 with stage four prostate cancer,” said Jerry Knight.
The 69-year-old got regular screenings after his father’s death. But he then skipped a few years. Crucial time that led him to founding the You Are Not Alone Prostate Cancer Support Self-Help Group.
“In 2014 I ran to get an annual checkup and get a PS test and when I did my PSA was double the limit,” said Knight.
Fortunately, the cancer had not spread outside the prostate. At age 60 his prostate was removed. His support group meets every fourth Thursday at Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson. Each quarter a medical professional speaks with members.
Sunday, September 24, the organization will ask all churches to encourage their congregations to get PSA screenings and wear blue to acknowledge Prostate Cancer Awareness.
The organization is raising funds to purchase a mobile unit to provide PSA screenings.
They plan to first travel to the delta where Knight says data indicates the region has the highest rate of prostate cancer.
For more information about the You Are Not Alone Prostate Cancer Support Self-Help Group call 601-260-0516 or Greater Mt. Calvary Baptist Church at 601-352-8585.
You can also email JerryKnight1954@gmail.com.
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