2006-06-16 / Community

Meeks Hosts Prostate Cancer Seminar

Congressman Gregory Meeks recently convened a Prostate Cancer Town Hall at Queens Hospital Center to discuss the alarming disparity rates of Prostate Cancer in African American Men as part of the kick off of National Men's Health Week.

"In the United States, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates among African American men have reached epidemic proportions. More than 30,000 African American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and at least 5,000 African American males will die this year from prostate cancer. African American men are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as men of other racial or ethnic groups. Prostate Cancer in African American men represents the largest disparity for any type of major cancer, for both male and female.According to our partner the American Cancer Society, the rate is 60% higher than the rate for White, Hispanic, Asian or Native American men. The mortality rate is 140% higher than for any of these racial or ethnic groups," said Meeks.

The event moderated by Virgil Simons of The Prostate Net, is follow up to the hugely successful State of the African America Male conference which took place last June and organized in collaboration with the Queens Hospital Center, Tap Pharmaceutical Products Inc.,the American Cancer Society, the Jamaica NAACP, The Prostate Net, and Prostate Health Education Network The program featured a panel discussion, led by medical specialists, awareness advocates and David Golub of the American Cancer Society and a "Survivors Speak" segment. Queens Hospital Center provided free prostate cancer screenings.

“Men diagnosed with prostate cancer now have more hope for survival than ever before. I am proud to say that here at the Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital we are employing the latest treatment options to ensure that patients have the most advanced care available to them. Our cancer center is the only comprehensive center in the borough of Queens and our physicians represent some of the foremost leaders in the treatment of the disease. Most prostate cancers can be cured in nearly 100% of cases, if it is caught early. The key is early diagnosis, even if you have no symptoms, most men should start having a digital rectal exam and a prostatic specific antigen (PSA) blood test to evaluate for prostate cancer yearly, starting between the ages of 45 and 50. African-American men and men with a close family history of prostate cancer should start having the evaluation done yearly at age 40. We offer free PSA screenings to uninsured men and continue to promote the importance of early diagnosis in the communities we serve," said Antonio D. Martin, Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center. 

"TAP is proud to support this important town hall meeting - the first of its kind - to educate the community about prostate cancer," said Katherine Stueland, spokesperson for TAP. "We're hopeful that Congressman Meeks' message today, in conjunction with the local medical community's dedication to prostate cancer awareness and screenings, will connect to those who need it most and save even more lives."

"Early detection is the key to survival," said Marilyn Barnes, President of the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP, whose mission is to educate residents of South Eastern Queens about various health risks. "It's one of the most curable when it's detected early. We're really trying to target the community."

"When it comes to prostate cancer, we often don't know what we don't, and should, know. Today, Congressman Meeks will help provide his community with what they need to know," stated Simons.

"Congressman Meekspartnered with the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) to host the first ever 'African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit' on Capitol Hill in September 2005. I am excited to be with him in his district for this importanttown meeting," said Thomas A. Farrington, Founder and President, Prostate Health Education Network, Inc. "We willeliminate this prostate cancer epidemic in our communities, however,one man at a time. Therefore I stronglyencourage all men to attend this event to be screened and learn about managing their prostate health."

In 1994, Congress established National Men's Health Week, the week leading up to and including Father's Day. "While Men's Health Week and today's Prostate Cancer Town Hall was an important first step, there is still much to be done to improve the health of African American men," said Congressman Meeks.

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