June 5th, 2012

Making Awareness a Priority for African-Americans — Putting Prostate Cancer on the M.A.P.


From John Wilson, Vice President, Oncology Sales & Marketing, Janssen Biotech, Inc.

Any trip into unfamiliar terrain can be daunting, particularly if you are without the aid of critical information such as guide books, GPS or at the very least, a map to navigate the way.  This is especially true if the journey you are about to embark on is a cancer diagnosis.

As an African-American man, I am acutely aware of the increased health risks we face, including the risk of prostate cancer.  And, I know first-hand the important role the women in our lives – wives, mothers, daughters, aunts and nieces – play in helping us get to the doctor for check-ups and having conversations about our health. Proactively seeking information and enrolling a team to assist us are critical factors in this battle and more importantly, these actions are entirely within our control.

Prostate cancer disproportionately affects the African-American community, where men are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and their risk of dying from the disease is more than double that of white males.  Because of this, education and open engagement with healthcare teams is a critical way to address this public health concern.  At Janssen Biotech, we are committed to identifying new ways to empower cancer patients and their loved ones by expanding their access to disease information and resources available to support their needs.

That’s why I’m so proud of a new Janssen Biotech multi-cultural disease education program – Making Awareness a Priority – Putting Prostate Cancer on the M.A.P., which is one part of a comprehensive effort we are making to educate groups at higher risk for prostate cancer, such as African-American men, and their loved ones

Held at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, our first of three M.A.P. events focused on delivering disease awareness in an engaging way, through channels people know and trust.  With Grammy® nominated R&B singer Charlie Wilson sharing his personal experience with prostate cancer – the event in Atlanta was a celebration of empowerment and highlighted ways African-American men can take a more active role in disease prevention, engaging in conversations and taking charge of their discussions with their healthcare teams.  Recognizing men don’t have to battle this disease alone, author of The Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health, Andrea King Collier spoke from the heart to the women to take an active role in their loved ones’ health.  Stanley K. Frencher Jr., MD, MPH was on hand to provide a broad overview of prostate cancer and the various reasons it impacts this community.

The program also features culturally relevant patient and caregiver materials designed for African-American men and their families.  These resources are provided in Spanish language as well.  Some topics include:
•    Your Prostate and Early Prostate Cancer
•    Working Effectively with Your Healthcare Team
•    Living with Advanced Prostate Cancer
•    Lifestyle Recommendations
•    Talking to Your Doctor
•    Caregiver’s Guide
•    Fast Facts card

The next event is Chicago.  More information and online registration can be found at www.myprostatecancerroadmap.com.  I encourage African-American men and their loved ones to register to attend or to receive future updates, so that we join together in increasing awareness and information to help lessen the impact of prostate cancer in our community.

I hope you’ll join me in Making Awareness a Priority.


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