South Carolina Town Hall Meeting Mobilizes Action
PHEN Leaders applaud a decade long history of community partnership in South Carolina at the Virtual Town Hall meeting, but say there is still more work to do to eliminate the prostate cancer racial disparity in South Carolina.
Key Takeaways From Town Hall Meeting
- PHEN’s history in South Carolina spans more than 10 years of providing prostate cancer education, awareness and support.
- To date, 37 churches across the state of South Carolina have joined PHEN’s Annual Father’s Day Rally event.
- Black men in South Carolina have a 73 percent high incidence rate and 2.4 times greater death rate than White men in South Carolina.
- outh Carolina is ranked the ninth highest state for prostate cancer deaths by the American Cancer Society.
- he prostate cancer racial disparity in South Carolina is the largest cancer racial disparity in South Carolina, and in the US for men and women.
- here was uniform agreement that early detection screening is key to help save Black men who are facing the state’s prostate cancer crisis.
- South Carolina leaders and patients committed to work together towards eliminating the prostate cancer racial disparity.
During the month of August, PHEN brought together leaders, survivors, medical professionals and activists as part of its South Carolina Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally, with a virtual town hall meeting. This coalition addressed actions where they can collaborate to increase prostate cancer screening, education about treatment options, managing survivorship and more.
“Our take home message is that black men have an overall 73 percent high incidence rate and 2.4 times greater death rate than White men in South Carolina,” said Dr. Keith Crawford PHEN’s Director of Clinical Trials and Patient Education. “The American Cancer Society ranks South Carolina as the ninth highest state for prostate cancer deaths and the prostate cancer racial disparity is the largest for any major cancer in South Carolina, and in the United States.”
The Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally is part of PHEN president and 22-year prostate cancer survivor, Thomas A. Farrington’s vision to raise awareness about prostate cancer within African American communities across the country, and move these communities to action. “In these areas, we focus our efforts on raising awareness, educating towards saving lives and reducing the prostate cancer racial disparity.”
One common theme that survivors and leaders shared was the need for Black men to advocate for their own health and screening, like PHEN Ambassador, Lee Moultrie, a prostate cancer survivor and Charleston, SC native. At age 39, Moultrie asked doctors to screen him for prostate cancer at a local hospital as part of a study, but they were hesitant to let him join because he wasn’t yet age 40. “I think it’s important that we share this information everywhere, that men who are 40 and older become screened and ask their doctor about it if their doctor isn’t saying anything.”
“If the pastor is talking about prostate cancer and pushing it and we have a whole month towards giving attention to this, it makes it more of a communal approach,” said Rev. Dr. Byron Benton, Senior Pastor of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, based in North Charleston, South Carolina. “When we do things in terms of community, we have better success. When within the church community we say we are together in this, then suddenly it becomes something that is not a big boogeyman.”