We wish Louis Gossett Jr. a speedy recovery. The acclaimed actor who won an Oscar for best supporting actor in 1983 for his portrayal of the no-nonsense Navy flight school sergeant who whips Richard Gere into shape in "An Officer and a Gentleman” announced Tuesday that he is being treated for prostate cancer.
In his announcement the 73-year old actor says the disease was caught early and he expects to make a full recovery.
Gossett says he decided to speak up about his diagnosis to increase awareness about the disease, particularly in the African- American community. With preventive examinations and early treatment, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.
Prostate cancer is the single most diagnosed non-skin cancer among African Americans: 30,870 will be diagnosed this year alone.
While the mortality rate is dropping, prostate cancer is still the second-leading cause of cancer death in African American men.
Actual death rates for African American men have also been dropping, averaging 64 per 100,000 men in the period from 2000-2003, down 9 percent from an average of 70.4 per 100,000 men from 1997-2008.
For an African American man, the chances of getting prostate cancer are 1 in 3 if you have just one close relative (father, brother) with the disease. The risk is 83% with two close relatives. With three, it’s almost a certainty (97%).
There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages. This is why screening is so critical.
Every African American man age 40 or older should resolve to be screened annually for prostate cancer.
Before the advent of early detection through PSA screening, about three-fourths of all prostate cancer cases were found in the late stages. With the widespread use of screening, 88 percent of cases in African American men are now found early.
Nearly 100% of African American men diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer are still alive five years from diagnosis.
Of African American men diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, 29% survive five years (not including those who died from causes other than prostate cancer.) The message brothers, - get tested! Prayers and kudos to Mr. Gossett for speaking up about his disease. Get well soon!
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