According to recent studies African American/Black men have the highest incidence rate for prostate cancer in the United States and are more than twice as likely as other races to die of the disease (Cancer.gov).
Earl Little, a 40 year Black male that is known for producing the largest celebration of African-American History Month in America, was recently diagnosed with an aggressive advanced stage of the disease. “It came as a shock to me,” says, Earl Little. “I understood prostate cancer to be an older mans disease and thought I was being proactive by getting checked at the age of 40 but unfortunately as my doctors would tell me, the disease has already spread or metastasized throughout my body.”
Until recently, many doctors and professional organizations encouraged yearly PSA screening for men beginning at age 50. Some organizations recommended that men who are at higher risk of prostate cancer, including African American men and men whose father or brother had prostate cancer, begin screening at age 45. Little is an only son and his father has no signs of prostate cancer after a biopsy. However, as more has been learned about both the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening, a number of organizations have begun to caution against routine population screening. Currently, Medicare provides coverage for an annual PSA test for all Medicare-eligible men age 50 and older.
“My Administration continues to invest in critical research to help better prevent this disease and treat it with fewer side effects, and to further our understanding of the disproportionate impact prostate cancer has on African-American men. As part of the Affordable Care Act, more options for quality, affordable health coverage are available and new protections are in place, expanding access to life-saving care for millions of Americans, including those impacted by prostate cancer. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition, such as cancer, or deny participation in an approved clinical trial for any life-threatening disease. And men fighting prostate cancer are no longer faced with annual or lifetime dollar limits on coverage that could disrupt their treatments,” says, President of the United States, Barack Obama.
The higher incidence of prostate cancer in African American/Black men compared with men from other racial/ethnic groups prompted a hypothesis that genetic factors might account, in part, for the observed differences. Recent findings from National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) program support this hypothesis. Researchers have identified changes—called variants—in human DNA that are associated with the risk of developing prostate cancer. Different combinations of these variants have been found in men from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, and each combination is associated with higher or lower risk for prostate cancer.
“I try not to let it affect me mentally I wake up each day juice my carrots and apples take my supplements and help the kids get ready for school happy to see the sunlight and then work on the parade, doing my best to maintain a normal life.”
“I have changed my diet to a strict organic vegan diet and have responded well to hormone drugs Lupron and Casodex. My PSA started at a 989.2 and has dropped to a 5.5 in a matter of weeks. I believe in miracles and am going to give it all I got I cherish every moment of life,” Little adds.
Earl Little produces the Black History Month Parade in Atlanta, Georgia an event that attracts thousands of participants from around the globe for more information visit www.blackhistorymonthparade.com and has launched a prostate awareness campaign in conjunction with Mattieu Ethan and The National Torchbearers, Prostate Cancer Consortium, Inc. called GetCheckedNow.Global to encourage men of all ages to get checked now don’t wait.
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