Black Enterprise Magazine Founder and Publisher Earl G. Graves, Sr. recently underwent surgery at Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins for prostate cancer.
Graves received a revolutionary nerve-sparing procedure developed by Dr. Patrick Walsh and performed by Dr. Arthur Burnett, a full professor and leading urologist on staff.
The technique allows for prostate removal with the preservation of potency and continence.
Graves' first warning sign came in the form of an irregular PSA (prostate specific antigen) test and was later confirmed by a biopsy. Dr. Burnett deemed the operation successful and expects Graves to make a full recovery.
"The disease has changed my life forever," says Graves. "I must take a PSA test every three months for the rest of my life so that the condition can be constantly monitored."
Graves chose to come forward with his personal health situation after Dr. Burnett shared with him that as African-American men they belong to the ethnic group most likely to develop the disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer among Black males is almost at epidemic levels.
Black men in America are at least 50 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of any other racial or ethnic group in this country. Roughly 66 percent of Black men diagnosed with prostate cancer survive at least five years compared to 81 percent of White men with the disease. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Black men tend to be diagnosed at later stages, after the cancer has grown. Mortality rates among Black prostate cancer victims are twice as high as that for White men, and this rate is increasing almost 2 percent a year.
"Prostate cancer can be treated successfully if caught early," Graves says. In the May issue of Black Enterprise, he issues an urgent call for all men age 40 and over to get tested and keep getting tested every year.
"Each and every person at risk needs to learn about the disease; commit to be tested and make the lifestyle, health and dietary choices that can help prevent the disease."
Graves' personal story, detailed in the Black Enterprise Publisher's Page, is followed by a prostate cancer resource guide to help direct men to local resources, including locations for PSA screenings in their area.
"I didn't want to get prostate cancer, no one does," Graves says. "But I am hopeful that coming forward with my story will convince those who are most vulnerable to take action."
COPYRIGHT 2004 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group