"We will encourage black males to undergo prostate cancer screening during the celebration of Juneteenth," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the NJOF. "Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom from enslavement in America. Through education and prevention, our "Modern Juneteenth Movement" will be working to see Juneteenth also become a celebration of freedom from prostate cancer in our community."
"Prostate cancer continues to pose a significant health concern in the United States. It is estimated that 240,890 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. Additionally, approximately 33,720 men are expected to succumb to this disease. It is second only to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths.Significant racial disparities exist for African American men diagnosed with prostate cancer. In fact, African American men have a 60% higher incidence of the disease and 2-fold higher mortality compared to other ethnic groups in the United States. Efforts at early detection of the disease are particularly critical in African American men as they are approximately 3 - 4 times more likely to present with distant and incurable cancer than Caucasian men."
If found in the early stages medical treatment can lead to disease free outcomes. An initial PSA blood test at age 40 and a digital rectal exam are still the gold standard for prostate screening. So, why aren't more African American men getting screened and preventing deadly outcomes from prostate cancer? "Brothers need to be positively encouraged to see the doctor for prostate screening." states Dr. Frank Mccune, Chairman of the National Juneteenth Medical Commission. "Juneteenth is an annual celebration where millions of our people have the opportunity to work together to create a culture of disease prevention for black males."
An annual Juneteenth Message on Health will be shared at Juneteenth celebrations throughout the country. NMA members and other physicians are encouraged to provide health education and screenings at Juneteenth events. An annual National Juneteenth Health Summit takes place at the annual Kansas City Memorial Juneteenth Jazz and Arts Festival on the second Saturday in June.
"The celebration of Juneteenth provides our community a unique opportunity to educate and encourage African American men to get screened for prostate cancer," states Dr. Myers. "Together we will not only see Juneteenth Independence Day become a National Day of Observance in America, but also a time to transform our culture to prevent prostate cancer from destroying so many lives."