Prostate cancer is the most common major cancer occurring in men today and the second leading cause of cancer death of African-American men. One out of every six men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Delaware is ranked 10th highest in the nation in prostate cancer mortality and the cancer incidence rate is 78% higher in blacks than all other men. These findings highlight the importance of targeting African-American men for screening and educational programs.
Trial data indicates that with less than a 10 percent participation rate among African-American men, the current approach to recruitment into prostate cancer screening is not as effective as it can be. Efforts must be based where African-American men normally congregate within the community. Consequently, at Christiana Care Health Services, a special group called the Warriors Against Prostate Cancer was formed.
Men meet each month on a volunteer basis to identify barriers to screening in their communities as well as to find ways to spread the message of the importance of prostate cancer screening to other high risk men.
Because of the work these men are doing, participation in prostate screenings at Christiana Care, Wilmington Hospital, has increased from 5% in 1996 to 19% in just two years. In 1998, 38% of men screened for the first time were African-American.
Currently, increased participation in early detection screening programs with diagnosis of the disease at an early stage offers the best opportunity for successful treatment of prostate cancer.
The group’s other activities include collaborating on mass media communication with the American Cancer Society Wilmington Prostate Task Force, the distribution of the group and its mission at special regional events and incorporating women into its fight to disperse the life-saving information.
An estimated 184,500 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States during 1999. The Warriors, through their efforts, plan to continue to stress behavioral modification and attitudinal change by taking the campaign to the streets.