The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has announced the kick-off of its new national “Know the Numbers” campaign to raise awareness about how prostate cancer disproportionately affects African American men, who are 76 percent more likely to be diagnosed than men of other ethnicities, 2.2 times more likely to die of the disease and are 23% more likely to present with advanced/metastatic disease. The campaign, themed “Know the Numbers,” encourages men and their families to understand their risks and to take proactive measures to protect their health.
“I am honored to serve as an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation and to use my platform to raise awareness about this insidious disease which has affected so many people close to me,” said Lennix. “In honor of those I have lost, I am encouraging all men, including African Americans who are at heightened risk, to take the time to familiarize themselves with this disease and to take steps to reduce their risk for developing prostate cancer or to catch it early enough to survive it.”
Despite recent reports of declining mortality rates for African American men, they remain the hardest hit by prostate cancer, with nearly 20 percent still being affected, and suffer the highest mortality rate from the disease of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. There remains a need to build public awareness about prostate cancer and to provide easy access to critical information, including screening guidelines, prevention and new targeted treatments. Equally important is destigmatizing the disease through open, honest dialogue, such as this discussion featuring former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, Stacey Abrams, and her father, which will lead to more men becoming proactive about their health.
“Currently, there is focus and large commitment in place to understand why the disparities that affect African American men with prostate cancer exist, and we are finally seeing some progress. But this is not the time to take the foot off the gas; this is the time to accelerate,” said Christine N. Jones, Chief Operating Officer, PCF. “We have a two-pronged approach to address this issue – education and awareness – which we know is saving lives on the front end, and investment in science, so we can better understand what is going on so precision treatments can be developed.”
National Minority Health Month Campaign Highlights
- Actor Harry Lennix, who currently co-stars on the NBC drama “The Blacklist,” is the face of PCF’s 2019 “Know the Numbers” campaign, which encourages men to understand their personal risks for prostate cancer, take charge of their health and save lives by breaking down barriers and talking about the disease. The PCF’s new PSA featuring Lennix can be viewed at www.pcf.org/knowthenumbers.
- The PCF’s new “PROSTATE CANCER: Additional Facts for African American Men and Their Families” is available for free download at www.pcf.org. The new guide provides actionable information about what men can do to prevent prostate cancer as well as information about risks and screening guidelines specifically for African Americans. The guide features comments from Chris Tucker, Brian Custer, “Uncle” Charlie Wilson and Snoop Dogg. Also available for free download is a comprehensive Prostate Cancer Patient Guide.
- The PCF currently has more than $10 million invested in research focused on prostate cancer in African American men. Teams across the U.S. are investigating a range of topics such as environmental factors to targeted therapies and genomics. Commencing this month is recruitment for the RESPOND study, which represents a $1 million PCF investment and is the largest study of its kind aimed at identifying the environmental and genetic factors related to disproportionately high diagnoses of aggressive prostate cancer in African American men. The study aims to recruit 10,000 participants over a three-year period to generate key biological and non-biological information that will help researchers reduce the rate of aggressive prostate cancer in this population. Find out more at www.pcf.org/RESPOND.
- Randy Jackson, Chris Tucker, Rev. Rosey Grier and others will be featured in month-long social media campaigns designed to reach men to encourage them to “Know the Numbers.”