Prostate Cancer Forum at FAMU

A first statewide forum begins Friday night to tackle the problem of prostate cancer among African American men, and there's good reason; black men have the highest incidence of the disease in the world.

With health related agencies from all over the state, FAMU and local leaders are asking the community to come, learn and live.

Tallahassee Police Chief Walt McNeil is referring to prostate cancer, a disease African Americans are 2.4 times more likely to die from compared to white men. Friday, Florida A&M University announced a first ever statewide forum.

Dr. Henry Lewis, FAMU pharmacy professor, says, “We wanted to make it free, open to the public, learn about this disease that's impacting the African American community.

Along with educational sessions there will also be on-sight screenings.

Dr. Merlin Langley, FAMU researcher, says “The African American men and students I spoke to in my class say the screening is too intrusive and makes them feel like they're not men.”

But prostate cancer survivors will tell you there's only one choice to make considering the 95 percent survival rate with early detection.

Thomas Mitchell, a prostate cancer survivor, says, “You can get relief if you don't have it and it you catch it early you have the joy of being cured.”

The free forum begins Friday night and goes all day Saturday at Florida A&M University. To register, call 412-5167. Women are also encouraged to attend as well as bring a man to the event. Extended Web Coverage

Who is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in North American men after skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer.

Both the number of new cases of prostate cancer and the number of deaths due to prostate cancer have increased in the past decade.

Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Some of these risk factors for prostate cancer are:

    Age - Prostate cancer is rarely seen in men younger than 50-years-old. The chance of developing prostate cancer increases as men get older.

    Race - Black males are more likely to develop prostate cancer than white males. Black males are also more likely to die of prostate cancer than white males.

    Family History of Prostate Cancer - A man whose father, brother, or son has had prostate cancer has a higher-than-average risk of developing prostate cancer.

Other potential risk factors include alcohol consumption, vitamin or mineral interactions, and other dietary habits.

Source: (National Cancer Institute) contributed to this report.