Health Ministry Updates

In an effort to keep the Metropolitan family informed, well and aggressive about their health, the Health Ministry presents detailed facts about newborn screening, prostate cancer and sickle cell anemia on the church website.

Prostate Cancer

The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man gets older. Most prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65. For reasons that are still unknown, African American men are more likely than white men to develop prostate cancer. Having one or more close relatives with prostate cancer also increases a man’s risk of having prostate cancer.

What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system. It is surrounded by other glands, nerves, and organs involved in sexual function. It is wrapped around the urethra and helps control the flow of urine. While you can live without a prostate, its location makes prostate cancer difficult to treat.

Sometimes cells keep growing beyond their natural lifespan and can swell up into a tumor. Tumor may be harmless (benign) or harmful (malignant) to the cells around them. Prostate cancer is a common, but usually slow-growing cancer compared to other types of cancer.

Who is at Risk?
The average man has about a 17 percent chance of getting prostate cancer and a three percent chance of dying from it. Your risk increases with age. More than 65 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65. African-American men have a 60 percent higher risk of getting prostate cancer than white men and are 2.5 times more likely to die from it.

For early or localized prostate cancer (that has not spread outside the prostate gland or nearby area), the most common treatment options are:

  • Active Surveillance: Closely monitor the disease and take action if necessary. Prostate cancer can grow slowly, allowing you time to carefully evaluate your options.
  •  Surgery (prostatectomy): The surgical removal of part or all of the prostate, and other nearby areas, if necessary.
  •  Radiation: Killing cancer cells with radiation, either with an external source, or by implanting tiny radioactive “seeds” into the prostate tissue (brachytherapy).
  • Some of the possible negative side effects of prostate cancer treatment include: incontinence, impotence, pain and depression.

What you can do:
The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. Research has not yet proven that the benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. Starting at age 50, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of testing, so you can decide. If you are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, you should have this talk with your doctor starting at age 45. If you decide to be tested, you should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam.