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Prostate Cancer Education Program Targets Black Men In Barbershops

Armen Hareyan's picture

Providing black men with information about prostate cancer duringvisits to their local barbers has been an effective educational andscreening tool, according to Virgil Simons, founder of The Prostate Net, a prostate cancer awareness organization, HealthDay/Forbes reports.Studies have shown that black men have a 60% higher risk of prostatecancer than whites and are almost 2.5 times more likely to die from thedisease. The disparity has been attributed to a lack of access toroutine health care.

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Simons, a prostate cancer survivor andblack textile industry executive, presented data on The Prostate Netthis week at the Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today 2007 meetingin Atlanta. He said that "anecdotal reports" have shown the program is"making a difference."

The Prostate Net was founded 11 yearsago to educate and inform people about the disease and teach "them howto empower themselves," according to Simons. A program offered by theorganization has enlisted 4,000 barbers nationwide to provide cancereducation and screening for minority men. "I knew there had to beanother form of outreach, particularly for those at high risk of thatdisease, minority men," Simons said, adding, "So I set up a programwhere medical centers around the country educated barbers, and theyprovided information on screening and free care."

Several ofthe participating barbershops also have multimedia workstations thatprovide video clips, written material, podcasts and Web information onthe disease. In 2006, more than 100 medical centers across the nationalso participated in the program. Simons said a survey to assess howthe barbershops influence knowledge and behavior about prostate cancerhas been developed (Edelson, HealthDay/Forbes, 9/6).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.