Prostate cancer is the leading type of cancer in men in the United States, with over 240,000 men diagnosed and 30,000 thousand dying from it each year. Also, for reasons that are not completely understood, African American men have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the U.S.
African Americans are also 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.5 times more likely to die of the disease.
When caught early, prostate cancer can be treated, usually successfully. But because many men experience no symptoms, it is often identified only by an abnormal result on a basic prostate cancer screening called the PSA test. The PSA test is a blood test that measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate gland.
An increase in the PSA level is often the only sign of early prostate cancer. The PSA test is also valuable in monitoring patients after treatment.
There is currently ongoing research to find better screening strategies than the PSA test. But until these tests have been confirmed, the PSA test continues to be important part of early detection and should not be blatantly discarded, especially as it applies to high-risk populations such as African American men.
Any man that is over 40 years of age should have meaningful dialogue with his healthcare provider to understand the details of the PSA test, its value and possible shortcomings. As with any illness, make sure you get a second opinion before proceeding with any post-diagnosis path.
Chiledum A. Ahaghotu, M.D.
Chief of Urology
Howard University Hospital
Mayor Thomas Menino deserves the city’s thanks for using his veto to reject the City Council’s proposed redistricting map.
Boston deserves fair district lines. The flawed map came to the mayor’s desk when it narrowly passed the Council [by a vote of] 7-6. It would have packed voters into a 95 percent non-white District 4.
It also would have cracked District 2, removing precincts with large numbers of people of color to protect an incumbent.
The map was a step backwards, and that’s why the Chinese Progressive Association, the NAACP, Oíste, the Latino Civic Education Organization and many other organizations spoke out against it.
The mayor, along with the six councilors who voted against the map (councilors Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Tito Jackson, Mike Ross, Ayanna Pressley, and Charles Yancey), did the right thing for voting rights and racial justice.
Now it’s the council’s turn once more. It’s up to them to create a new map that will promote civic engagement and racial equality for the whole city.
Cheryl Crawford and Avi Green