The Rev. Thomas L. Walker continues to fight against prostate cancer in the community and abroad.
As a 21-year survivor of prostate cancer, Walker, senior pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, continues advocating for better health in men.
African American men are 2½ more times likely of dying than any other ethnic origin. And these are fathers in the home.
In his efforts to bring awareness to the community and through a coordinated effort with the OIC Family Medical Center and the Prostate Cancer Coalition of North Carolina will sponsor a pre-fathers day event entitled “Save Our Fathers.”
“I want to urge all men, especially over the age of 40, to consult with their physicians, clinics, public health officials and advocacy organization, such as the American Cancer Society, about prostate cancer and whenever appropriate, to get a free screening for the disease,” Walker said. “Our goal is to help all men become better informed about prostate cancer and take the necessary steps to protect their health. Statistics should that prostate cancer is over 95 percent curable when caught in time. Therefore, early detection is most important in saving lives.”
After being diagnosed and cured of prostate cancer; one way Walker said he channeled his energies was by writing a book entitled, “Brother to Brother: You don’t have to Die of Prostate Cancer. “
Through his testimony, many lives have been saved by sharing his experiences with the disease.
“My goal has always been to bring about awareness of prostate cancer and work to prevent and eradicate the disease. Early detection is critical in coping with this complex disease that does not have a ‘one size fits all’ for treatment,” Walker said. “I am concerned that many men between the ages of 40 and up choose not to get tested because of some misconception that testing is not required.”
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer among men in the United States, hitting one man in six. This year an estimated 234,460 men will learn that they have the disease, and an estimated 27,350 men will lose their lives to it.
Prostate cancer goes beyond the men who are diagnosed because families are devastated when they lose husbands, partners, fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers. African-American families particularly are disproportionately affected due to African-American men having higher rates of prostate cancer diagnosis and death than men of other racial or ethnic groups in the United States.
Additionally. the psychological and emotional experience of those diagnosed with prostate cancer is enormous for the one diagnoses and their family member. It should also be remembered that the disease can strike younger men, too – almost one third of prostate cancer occurs in men under 65 during their prime working years.
The Save Our Fathers Initiative will provide an opportunity for the community to meet with and ask questions to physicians and other professions that will be on hand to talk about the disease.
There will be testing opportunities and information on support groups for those already with the disease. And because this disease will ultimately effect the whole family, wives and significant others are especially to attend and be a part of this crucial discussion.