You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live- Stuart Scott
Some believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sometimes what you treasure may just be – glorified trash. I do understand that nothing suggest Black people have gathered to fellowship like the smell of barbeque and fried fish. Many sometimes just show up to an event to “get they plate”. However, that sacred treasure is literally killing us! That is, constantly eating unhealthy food- that is traditionally prized as indispensable to family reunions and church functions – is a cancer to the African-American community. Studies show that the intake of red meat and fried foods do contribute to higher chances of getting cancer. One would be naïve to think that most African-Americans do not sense- at least somewhat- a consequence for eating something that has the potential to completely saturate a whole roll of paper towels with grease and oil.
The Combat Ready Cancer Ministry and Men’s Ministry at Fallbrook Church teamed up to bring about awareness and opportunity to men in the community. There was an ample amount of information provided about cancer to the audience during the breakfast, and men could receive a free prostate cancer screening.
The most commonly diagnosed cancers among black men are prostate (31% of all cancers), lung (15%), and colon and rectum (9%). African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most cancers (Cancer.org).
Radio Legend and current Host of the Top-Rated Afternoon Drive Program on KMJQ/MAJIC 102.1 FM Funky Larry Jones came to Fallbrook Church to disarm men of their pride. He suggested many men like to act and live as if everything is solvable with an “Advil pill”, and exclaimed, “pride comes before the fall.” For a time, Jones struggled with managing his personal health responsibly as he refused to get screened for cancer. Eventually, he would get screened and come to know and respect Houston Urologist, Robert J. Cornell, MD, PA. Jones stated passionately to the men in the room, “I ensure you that without Dr. Cornell’s guidance, and his input, and knowledge in this soul- this body would not be standing before you today.” He would end his heart -felt spiel to the men exclaiming that, “it was only God who led me to this man who made sense to me in just a few brief moments.”
Dr. Cornell had come with enough ammunition to provide insight, education, and support the “John the Baptist” introduction he received from Funky Larry Jones. He intentionally stated, “to all the African American men in the room- after mentioning he decided to miss both of his daughter’s softball games just to speak at the breakfast- that, you are the men who need the message the most.” That message, according to Dr. Cornell, is that Prostate cancer is killing black men more than any other race. According to the research on Prostate cancer in the African-American community:
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst men in the US. While this terrible disease is not exclusive to any one race; it is, however, more prevalent in black men and so is the death rate from it. One in four men black men will get prostate cancer within their lifetime, that is quite a high number. It is even more alarming when you compare those numbers to other demographics. Only 1 in 7 men of all other races will get prostate cancer. When you think about the fact that black men have twice the risk of being diagnosed than white males, and three times that of Asians, it makes one wonder why these stats are so high.
Once diagnosed with prostate cancer, many black males may ask what they could’ve done differently or what factors led to them being diagnosed. Black men do have nearly 150% greater risk of dying from prostate cancer than any other. That can be a sobering realization when 44% of prostate cancer deaths are from black men which make up only 13% of the population. The bad news is this is mostly due to genetic differences in black men but there is good news. While black men cannot affect the risk of getting prostate cancer they can affect whether they die from it or not.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The main reason men die from prostate cancer is due to lack of action and early detection. Before PSA screenings developed in the 90’s, black men diagnosed with prostate cancer died at a rate of nearly 40 percent! However, with PSA protocols in place, since the late 90’s the death rate is now down to just 10 percent! You can’t choose your race or your parents, but you can choose to be on top of your health and get screened for prostate cancer once a year once you reach 40. Early detection is the only way you can mitigate the impact this disease has on you. Information is power and with this information, you can indeed survive prostate cancer.
SPREAD THE WORD
The easiest way to let others in your circle know is to simply have a candid talk about prostate cancer. There is no room for being “manly” and thinking it will just go away. There is no sense in ignoring screenings, and PSA tests when these tests can be the difference between surviving prostate cancer and dying from it. Early detection is the key to saving your life and being proactive about your health is a best practice that will always benefit you.
My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). The humorous aspect of that bible verse is that the Israelites were not completely ignorant of God’s law, foolishness just seemed to be more accommodating to their life style. The same applies to men who willfully accept not knowing their health status. In addition, the same also applies to men who constantly eat food that research dictates are cancerous. Many African-American families are left without fathers, uncles, and brothers because of both, lack of information and refusal to change their mind about what is means to be healthy. It seems if a man truly cares about his family, and his own life, he must get tested when he is of age!
About ROBERT J. CORNELL, MD, PA
Dr. Cornell is a board-certified urologist practicing in downtown Houston, Texas. He completed his residency training at Baylor College of Medicine in the Scott Department of Urology and his general surgical training in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of General Surgery.
Eminently qualified, Dr. Cornell earned his medical doctorate from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and graduated with high honors from Allegheny College in his hometown of Meadville, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Cornell has completed multi-disciplinary microsurgical training, is a specialist in prosthetic urology and female incontinence and pelvic reconstructive surgery, and in office thermotherapy treatment of benign prostate enlargement.
If you feel you might have a problem with your prostate that needs the attention of a professional then you need to call Dr. Cornell to schedule a screening. With proper detection from Dr. Cornell, you greatly increase your chances of survival and living a healthy long life. All it takes is to contact our offices and schedule an appointment to get started.
Photos and Story by: Lorenzo Tolbert