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Our Bodies: “Brothers” and Prostate Cancer

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Dear Dr. Levister: My father died of prostate cancer. For years he refused to get an exam. Please feature the importance of “Brothers” getting checked.
P.T.



Dear P.T.: “Our habitual patterns and unresourceful behaviors exist only as long as we do nothing to change them. Recognize them, arrest them, interrupt, and replace them, and life will change for the better.” Louis Gossett, Jr., actor, prostate cancer survivor...
Prostate cancer kills an estimated 42,000 American men annually, and it is one of the toughest cancers to treat once it begins to spread. It is the second-leading cancer killer among American men overall - just above lung cancer. Black men have the highest rate of prostate cancer worldwide. Even more sobering is that Black men have the highest mortality rate of any group.
Like high blood pressure, prostate cancer is also a “silent killer” - it usually lurks in a man’s body without symptoms. Although the prostate gland may be low key, when it acts up, it doesn’t half step. So for you brothers over forty, this means you could be walking around feeling fine while the disease festers. The disease is usually well on its way before you notice something is wrong. Symptoms to look out for are hesitant or weak urine streams, a feeling of an unemptied bladder, and an increased need to “take a leak.”
If you are age forty-five or older, here’s what you can do to protect yourself and others from this disease: ...See your doctor for a complete check-up to include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE).
...Learn about prostate cancer and other men’s health issues by visiting the Black Health Net home page at www.blackhealthnet.com.
...Empty your bladder before bedtime; drink plenty of water; go easy on the spicy acidic foods and drinks (e.g. hot sauce, citrus-fruit juices and soda pop); keep your stress level down; exercise, eat a healthy diet; don’t smoke.
Brothers take responsibility for your health. Dying of prostate cancer doesn’t have to be our fate. Just ask prostate cancer survivors, actor Sidney Poitier; Louis Gossett, Jr; former D.C. Mayor, Marion Barry and singer-actor Harry Belafonte.
Get out of the “stubborn male” mode, not seeking proper preventive care, merely extends an open invitation to cancer.

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