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Breast/Prostate Cancer Survivors Sought for Upcoming Play

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It is encouraging to observe the awareness, and Black people in particular have demonstrated during the month of October, which most of us realize is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Blacks gallantly participated in marches, conferences, health fairs, and other venues that promoted breast cancer awareness. Hundreds of articles were written and dozens of TV interviews conducted on the subject of breast cancer awareness and its disproportionate fatal attack on Black women. I haven’t seen so much unity since 2008 when President Obama was elected. Bravo! After all the interest that has been aroused it would be counterproductive to allow the focused energy to cool off now. It would serve the nation well if everyone who expressed an active interest in breast cancer awareness continues to share the valuable life-saving information throughout the year. In other words, we should extend breast cancer awareness ongoing stage productions because breast/prostate cancer survivors are testimonies against the disease.

As we know Black women are 10 percent less likely than White women to be diagnosed with breast cancer but are 36 percent more likely than White women to die from the disease. Furthermore, Black women with close relatives who've been diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease.

A Black female who had one first-degree female relative (sister, mother, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer has her risk for breast cancer doubled. If two first-degree relatives have been diagnosed, her risk is 5 times higher than average. The aforementioned information is written into the script of an upcoming play called, “Pruning The Ashbury Tree,” about a family with a history of breast cancer. The play also deals with prostate cancer because 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, the cancer is almost a certainty (97%). Nearly 100% of African American men diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis.

The reality is that more Black people would respond responsibly to the life-saving message when given through doses of good dramatic entertainment. As a socially conscience playwright, I’ve written “Pruning The Ashbury Tree,” to enlighten our community about breast and prostate cancer and need your help to do so. Currently, I am seeking volunteer cancer survivors and/or their loved ones who are interested becoming an advocate for health through theatrical arts as actors, singers, dancers or even management, promotion and/or back stage work. No experience is necessary. Next play scheduled for performance in December 2011. Email: Richard O. Jones richardojones1@verizon.net

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