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'Angels' Hope To Raise Prostate Cancer Awareness Among Black Men

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Black men are more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than their white counterparts, especially in North Carolina, which has the highest prostate cancer incidence and death rate in the United States. Now, one group of women has a strategy to turn those numbers around.

They do not wear wings, but the women in the group are angels -- "P.C. Angels," spreading the word about prostate cancer.

"Everybody won't listen. Everybody won't hear, but some will," says Deborah Artis, of the group.

Artis and others in the group are working out the details of a prostate cancer forum in Raleigh on Sept. 17. Their mission is to convince black men to get tested for prostate cancer, beginning at age 40.

"African-American men -- they tend not to be checked for anything," said Enid Smith, also a member of P.C. Angels.

Other men may not change their mind, but Dr. Gladys Burnette has a strategy.

"Getting wives to sort of 'make' their husbands go and get screened, because guys, like my husband, didn't think it would happen to him," Burnette said.

Joseph Burnette was 60 years old when he died of prostate cancer in 1999. He never got a PSA blood test or digital rectal exam until it was too late. That is why the women say they are so bold in spreading the message of early and regular prostate screening.

"You know, I don't mind being a little pushy, especially when it comes to health," Smith said.

The N.C. Minority Prostate Cancer Awareness Action Team will host the N.C. Annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Conference on Saturday, September 17, 2005, at the North Raleigh Hilton. There is no cost for attending training sessions, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. Other activities will include a reception, silent auction and banquet. For additional information about the conference, please contact Al Richmond

(919) 956-2314

or send an


. The conference is being held in affiliation with the

Prostate Cancer Coalition of N.C.


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