Symposium Aims to Raise Black Men’s Awareness of Prostate Cancer Risk

Reaching out: Thomas Farrington, left, and Rev. Byron E. Thomas, Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, at PHEN symposium in May in Atlanta. | Errol O. James 2014
Reaching out: Thomas Farrington, left, and Rev. Byron E. Thomas, Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, at PHEN symposium in May in Atlanta. | Errol O. James 2014

Three months after losing his father to prostate cancer, Thomas Farrington was diagnosed with it.

“I had no knowledge of cancer, so I didn’t know what type of treatment to do. There was no discussion about the fact that I was at a very high risk about being a black man prone to prostate cancer,” said Farrington, 70, who lost both of his grandfathers to the disease.

The lack of information about black men with prostate cancer — who are more than twice as likely to die from the disease as white men, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation — led Farrington to found the Prostate Health Education Network in 2003.

The network advocates on behalf of African-American prostate cancer patients and survivors. On Sunday, it’s hosting its seventh annual Father’s Day rally to honor prostate cancer survivors and those who have lost loved ones. On Saturday, the Network will convene a symposium at Second Baptist Church in Miami to discuss screening and early detection, treatment options and diet and nutritional needs. Walter Richardson, former pastor of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church, will share his story as a prostate cancer survivor.

“When it comes to African Americans, we are diagnosed at a rate 60 percent higher than other men,” said Farrington. “PHEN’s mission is to eliminate this crisis.”

About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually nationwide, with about 27,540 dying from the disease each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

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SOURCE: DANIELA RIOS
Miami Herald