Raleigh, N.C. — One in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. The odds are even greater in North Carolina. This is especially true for African-American men.
One church congregation has made it their mission to reduce the risk prostate cancer. Jimmie Brown, 56, said Macedonia New Life Church is where he was saved. Not just spiritually, but also physically from prostate cancer.
Awareness efforts, first preached by late pastor G. Wesley Raney III, led Brown to regular prostate screenings at Dr. Allen Mask’s office.
At his visit, Mask found that Brown’s PSA was elevated and sent him to an urologist where he had a biopsy. To his surprise, it found cancer.
Brown’s cancer was in its early stages when it was found. He chose brachytherapy – tiny radioactive pellets implanted into the prostate. Brachytherapy effectively killed Brown’s cancer.
Rhonda Raney, widow of the late pastor, said prostate cancer awareness was a particular passion for her husband.
“As it turned out, he ended up being a prostate cancer patient that was detected early and got adequate treatment and overcame the disease,” Raney said.
African-American men younger than 65 years old are three times more likely to die from prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men.
“So African Americans tend to get more aggressive cancers,” Dr. Kevin Khoudary of Cary Urology said. He added that, “they get them at an earlier age.”
There is a higher risk of death from prostate cancer among African Americans in the eastern part of the state, according to Khoudary.
The reasons are likely to be cultural including diet, education and lack of access to care.
The G. Wesley Raney III Prostate Cancer Awareness Initiative addresses all of these concerns and also raises money to help those who are diagnosed. Raney said the raised funds help patients pay copays, buy medication and pay for transportation to and from the doctor.
All men 50 years old and older should consider regular screenings, including annual PSA tests and physical exams. Certain high risk groups such as African-American men and those with a strong family history of prostate cancer should consider screening as young as 40. If there are possible indicators of cancer, patients should consult their doctor.
The G. Wesley Raney III Prostate Cancer Awareness Golf Tournament will be Thursday morning at the Pine Hollow Golf Club in Clayton. Contact Mike Whitaker at 919-271-3592 for event details.