On Saturday, October 13th, Black Health Matters had the pleasure of hosting a prostate cancer and research study education program with the Zeta Chi Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma (http://www.zxs1914.org) in Prince George’s County. Zeta Chi Sigma members believe that a healthy community requires members to take action within their community to make life better for all we serve. The chapter president Willard Hutt, was extremely receptive about having a prostate health education program for his chapter.
The Black Health Matters Ambassador for the day was Dr. Adam Metwalli, Chief of Urology at Howard University Hospital and he was the guest speaker for the program. On top of being one of 4 doctors who specializes in Urology at Howard University Hospital, Dr. Metwalli also devotes his time spreading awareness about prostate cancer, a serious health issue that is not often discussed.
The subjects he covered were:
- Prostate cancer basics
- African Americans and prostate cancer
- The need for clinical trial participation among African Americans for prostate cancer
He explained the 4 different stages of clinical trials and the different things that are researched during each stage. Ultimately, the goal of clinical trials is to discover what works as effective treatment. He delivered detailed information about the lack of African American participation in clinical trials, revealing that only about 2% of African Americans participate in cancer research even though African American men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with it than white men. Among the many root causes of lack of participation, some that were discussed are:
- Lack of awareness and information of the trials,
- Cultural prejudices
- Lack of communication between physicians and patients.
He also brought to light the many benefits of clinical trials that are not often highlighted or shared, including stringent safety protocols and consistent efforts to improve the clinical trial experience for participants.
Dr. Metwalli revealed that black men are plagued by prostate cancer at higher rates than other races and are 2.3 times more likely to die from it. He has found that often, black men die and only after an autopsy it is revealed that they had prostate cancer. He stressed the importance of actively surveilling for prostate cancer since it places a such huge burden on the body. Men must be proactive about this health issue and he noted that accessibility to healthcare and good health providers for African Americans play a role in the lack of precautionary steps being taken.
What was envisioned as a 15 minute presentation turned into almost an hour as the chapter members asked questions and challenged Dr. Metwalli on the benefits of heightened awareness of their own health and why research study participation is an option for those with a sense of urgency in treating their disease. Willard Hutt ensured that all questions were answered and was pleased with the level of engagement on the topic.
Prostate cancer is a major health issue that a lot of men don’t like to talk about. Black Health Matters would like to thank Willard Hutt and Dr. Adam Metwalli for shedding some much-needed light on an important health topic.
If you or a loved one would like to explore if participation in a research study is an option, see,