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Preacher Spreads Good News About Prostate Cancer

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ROCKY MOUNT — Nearly 200,000 men will get prostate cancer this year. African- American men are more than twice as likely to face it. A cancer survivor is preaching good news about beating the odds.

Pastor Thomas Walker is on a mission that reaches beyond the pulpit. He is preaching prevention of prostate cancer.

He should know.

He faced the disease, defeated it, and went on the write about it.

"This was a very tragic time in my life, and I initially thought it as a death warrant," he says.

Today, he is fine, because doctors detected the disease early.

"Men just don't like to go to the doctor, and they particularly don't like to go for this disease," Walker says. "There are a lot of myths out there about the examinations."

For many of us, a prostate exam is the last thing we want, but a new type of initial screening is just a blood test.

The Edgecombe County Health Department teamed up with Walker's church on Saturday to provide free screenings and breakfast.

"This is a very, very treatable disease, one that can be treated very well, if detected early like most cancers," says Jim Baluss, Edgecome County's health director.

Walker also wants to reach women, because they can often convince their husbands to get tested.

"Had not my wife coached and pushed me, I would have perhaps waited too late to be checked," he says.

But Walker did beat the disease. He wants to make sure every man has the same opportunity.