Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer among men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, and it discriminates against black men. In the United States black men are diagnosed with the disease at a rate 60% higher with a mortality rate 130% greater than men of all other racial and ethnic groups. This is the largest racial disparity for any type of major cancer for men or women.
The “Annual African-American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit” hosted by the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) convenes survivors and leaders within medicine, research, government industry and the community to address policy and medical issues towards eliminating the prostate cancer racial disparity.
PHEN’s 13th Annual Summit was held in Washington, DC on September 21st and 22nd, 2017, and consisted of five distinct sessions. The first session, Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Rally and Updates, focused on strategies to increase African American participation in clinical trials. Presenters from PHEN, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies weighed in on plans to meet this challenge. The second session, “Understanding the Current Prostate Cancer Treatment Paradigm” presented how new therapies, technologies, and research studies have changed the approach to treating men with prostate cancer and the need to educate patients about these changes. The rising cost of prostate cancer treatments was the topic of the third session, The Cost Factor and Its Impact. The cost of treatments is impacting access by African American men as a recent study showed that black men considered the cost of prostate cancer treatments to be very important by a margin of 2 to 1 compared to white men. Discussions centered on ways to address this access issue. Prostate Cancer Screening in Black America, the fourth session, reviewed the impact of the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force's new recommendation on prostate cancer screening and the education and awareness effort required to make certain that black men understand the benefits of early detection of prostate cancer through PSA screening. The fifth and final session, Educating and Mobilizing Black Communities on Prostate Cancer, focused on PHEN’s faith-based education and awareness initiatives and new approaches that will be introduced in 2018 to expand outreach within communities in the fight against prostate cancer.
New York Congressman Gregory Meeks hosts the second day of the PHEN summit each year as a part of the U. S. Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference at the Washington Convention Center. In his remarks he stated, “With Mr. Farrington’s leadership we have been persistent and consistent and each year we gather together we hear new and different information. We see where the progress has been made and gains have been attained. We also learn what is necessary to do for it is absolutely clear we have come a long way in 13 years, but we still have a long ways to go.” Congressman Meeks message provides a clear perspective, and call to action from PHEN’s 13th Annual African Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit.
For those interested in duplicating the success of PHEN it is important to have a clear mission statement on what issue you want to address. Create programs and initiatives that work towards addressing your mission statement, and most importantly develop partnerships with organizations that will support your mission.