Prostate cancer at homecoming.I was attending the annual Homecoming Weekend at my alma mater, Morgan State University Morgan State University, formerly Centenary Biblical Institute (1867-1890), Morgan College (1890-1938) Morgan State College (1938 -1975), is located in residential Baltimore, Maryland. . As usual, it was a time for me and my fellow alum to catch up with all that's happening in each other's lives--how many grandchildren have been born since last year, which grandchild started or finished college, which son or daughter got married or remarried. Five of us Morgan grads, all men in our 60s, were chatting about all of those happy things when the inevitable health issues impacting our lives came up. One by one, each of the other four revealed that they had been diagnosed with prostate cancer prostate cancer, cancer originating in the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is the leading malignancy in men in the United States and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in men. . Of the five of us, I was the lone exception--or so I thought at the time.
I regularly have PSA (Professional Services Automation) An information system designed to organize, track and manage all opportunities, work, resources, costs, revenues and invoices to improve the productivity and efficiency of the workforce. (prostate specific antigen PSA (Prostate specific antigen)
A tumor marker associated with prostate cancer.
Mentioned in: Tumor Markers ) tests done and was awaiting a biopsy report because Dr. Aaron Jackson Aaron Jackson (born 26 June 1973, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American actor. He is most noted for his role as "Mark Winkle" in the Peter Engel series for NBC, California Dreams, between 1994 and 1997. , my urologist "My Urologist" is the 116th episode of the American situation comedy Scrubs. It originally aired as Episode 23 of Season 5 on May 16, 2006. Plot
J.D. begins to fall for Dr. Kim Briggs, a urologist he shares a patient with, but when Dr. at Howard University Howard University, at Washington, D.C.; coeducational; with federal support. It was founded in 1867 by Gen. Oliver O. Howard of the Freedmen's Bureau, to provide education for newly emancipated slaves. A normal and preparatory department was opened the same year. (where I am a trustee), was uneasy about the fluctuating PSA scores from my more recent tests. I was not concerned because not having a conclusive diagnosis meant, in my layman's mind, that there was probably nothing there. A few days later I was informed by Dr. Jackson that a few of the samples that were tested showed that cancer was, indeed, present in the prostate. I was no longer the exception.
As has been the case for our entire 43 years of marriage, my wife, Barbara, remains my indispensible life partner, with me every step of the way. This challenge was no different than so many others we've faced together since she agreed to be my bride. Barbara was on the phone with me as Dr. Jackson broke the news of the presence of cancerous cells in my body. She immediately became my "Florence Nightingale," accompanying me to every doctor visit and involved in every major decision regarding my care and treatment options. If you were to ask me what is the most important thing you can do to safeguard your ability to survive a health crisis such as prostate cancer, I'd answer, "Find yourself a Barbara Graves." (And if you can't always keep her happy, at least try not to get on her nerves!)
Another great advantage to finding a wonderful wife is the blessing of wonderful children. We didn't tell our three sons. Earl "Butch" Jr., Johnny, and Michael, until December, when we were sure that I did, indeed, have prostate cancer. Their positive focus and determination has served to reinforce and strengthen my own, as they provide seemingly limitless support while continuing to excel as executives at Earl G. Graves Ltd. Of course, as black men all past 35 (ages 42, 41, and 37, respectively), the challenge I am facing is a major wake-up call to them to take the steps necessary to protect their health.
I knew that it was important to reach out to others for advice, insight, and encouragement as I faced this health challenge. I talked to as many of my friends as I could and found, to my astonishment, that many (perhaps, not coincidentally, too many) had gone through or were sharing my experience. So many people generously offered valuable information, spirit-sustaining encouragement. or sometimes just an open ear, including Darwin Davis, Walter Fulcher, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Noun 1. Colin Powell - United States general who was the first African American to serve as chief of staff; later served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush (born 1937)
Colin luther Powell, Powell , Flash and Bennie Wiley, Dr. Ben Carson Benjamin Solomon Carson (born September 18, 1951 in Michigan) is a noted American neurosurgeon. He became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital when he was 33 years old. , Peter and Marian Goodman, Dennis Hightower, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Mayor Michael Bloomberg Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born 14 February 1942) is an American businessman, and the founder of Bloomberg L.P., currently serving as the Mayor of New York City. He was a general partner at Salomon Brothers before founding the financial software service company in 1981. , Dr. Ken Forde, Dr. Hal Freeman, Bay Robinson, Ken Chenault, Ann Francis, Patrick Swygert, Bill O'Brien
I've also found that it's important--and therapeutic--to arm myself with as much medical information and advice as possible. In addition to tapping resources such as the American Cancer Society American Cancer Society,
n.pr established in 1913, this national volunteer-based health organization is committed to the elimination of cancer through prevention and treatment and to diminishing cancer suffering through advocacy, scholarship, research, (www.cancer.org), I talked to doctors across the country. Dr. Jackson and I came to the conclusion that I should get a second biopsy and opinion from Dr. Arthur Burnett, a full professor, research scientist, and leading urologist Urologist
A physician who deals with the study and treatment of disorders of the urinary tract in women and the urogenital system in men.
Mentioned in: Congenital Bladder Anomalies, Lithotripsy, Men's Health, Overactive Bladder
urologist on the staff of the Brady Urological Institue at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Dr. Burnett was trained by Dr. Patrick Walsh, who is acknowledged as the world's foremost authority on prostate cancer and is the inventor of the revolutionary, nerve-sparing surgical technique in which the prostate is removed, but potency and continence continence /con·ti·nence/ (kon´tin-ens) the ability to control natural impulses.con´tinent
1. Self-restraint; moderation.
2. are preserved. Doctors Jackson and Burnett are further evidence of the great returns I've enjoyed over the years on my investment of faith in African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. physicians.
And speaking of faith, let me say that there is a God who I've called an in the past and I continue to call on today as I face this new trial. Evidence continues to mount that spiritual commitment and faith have powerful, life-enhancing effects that are key to the speed and quality of recovery from cancer. My foundation of faith continues to be the bedrock for my life, and the source of my strength as I face this daunting daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin challenge.
On Wednesday, March 3, 2004, I underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins to remove the cancer. All indications are that the operation was successful. With all due respect to the brilliance of Dr. Burnett, my surgeon, I'm sure that it didn't hurt that as I was going under the knife, employees of BLACK ENTERPRISE had gathered in our company's amphitheatre to pray for me before having their spirits uplifted by a live performance by the world-reknowned Fisk University Jubilee Singers. That said, the disease has changed my life forever. For example, I must take a PSA test every three months so that my condition can be constantly monitored.
One might ask why I am revealing so much about such a personal health situation. The answer is twofold. First, the preponderance of prostate cancer among black males is almost at epidemic levels. We have the highest risk of prostate cancer of any ethnic group in the world. We seem to get the most severe forms of the cancer, are more likely to have a recurrence of the disease after treatment, and are more likely to die of the disease than others. Why this is the case remains the subject of studies. It may be heredity heredity, transmission from generation to generation through the process of reproduction in plants and animals of factors which cause the offspring to resemble their parents. That like begets like has been a maxim since ancient times. , environment, diet, stress--or some combination of all these things. Research pursued by Dr. Burnett and others will hopefully reveal some of the reasons why the probability of getting this cancer increases as we get older, why Asian men in their homeland rarely experience the disease, why Africans in their homeland do, and why West Indian men in Jamaica have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. This research will also help improve the skills of doctors performing prostate cancer surgery, resulting in greater outcomes for their patients.
The second reason is to sound the elation elation /ela·tion/ (e-la´shun) emotional excitement marked by acceleration of mental and bodily activity, with extreme joy and an overly optimistic attitude. call for all black men over the age of 40 (and even younger if you have a male relative who has had the disease) to have an annual rectal exam and PSA test so that any problem can be detected as early as possible. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to understand the preventative measures we can take, and to pursue treatment options if needed. To this end, I recommend a number of resources (see sidebar) to those who would heed my call.
Prostate cancer can be treated--if it is caught early. The bottom line is that we need to take action. If you are a black man age 40 or older, get tested and keep getting tested every year. And don't stop there--each and every person reading this column needs to commit to urging everyone they know to learn about prostate cancer; get tested; and make the lifestyle, health, and dietary choices that can help prevent the disease. Thank you for taking the time to listen. I didn't want to get prostate cancer--no one does. However, if rye helped even one person take action to prevent this disease, or to detect it earlier so that he can survive it, then this experience is a worthwhile one.
PROSTATE CANCER RESOURCE GUIDE
Battling the Killer Within, by Thomas A. Farrington (Old Mountain Press; $16.99)
Prostate Cancer: A Survivor's Guide, by Don Kaltenbach with Tim Richards (Seneca House Press $16.95)
Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer, by Dr. Patrick C. Walsh and Janet Farrar Worthington (Warner Books; $25.95)
Prostate Cancer for Dummies, by Paul H. Lange & Christine Adamec (For Dummies; $21.99)
The Prostate Cancer Protection Plan, by Dr. Bob Arnot (Little Brown & Co.; $14.95)
American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)
National Cancer Institute (www.nci.nih.gov)
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City is a cancer treatment and research institution founded in 1884 as the New York Cancer Hospital. The main campus is located at 1275 York Avenue, between 67th and 68th Streets, with other locations in New (www.mskcc.org)
Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com)
Howard University (www.huhosp.org)
Prostate Cancer Education and Support 630-795-1002 (www.ustoo.com)
National Prostate Cancer Coalition 888-245-9455 (www.4npcc.org)
To find local resources, including PSA screenings, go to the American Cancer Society's Website at www.cancer.org, click on "In My Community," and enter your Zip code and/or city. A list of ACS (Asynchronous Communications Server) See network access server. programs and services will appear.