Norfolk Tides baseball. Prostate cancer. Nothing obviously links these two things. But that’s changing on August 22 when the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) sponsors the Norfolk Tides vs. the Charlotte Knights game and a Prostate Cancer Awareness Night, an educational seminar for men and women about the second leading cause of cancer death (behind skin cancer) in American men.
The seminar, a lead in to September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is free, and as a sweetener, so is the game.
“Prostate cancer isn’t just a men’s health situation; it’s a family situation,” says Charlie Hill, a cancer survivor and founder of the Hampton Roads Prostate Health Forum. “It’s still difficult to get men to talk about it. That’s why I like to address groups with women, too. Women approach medical care differently from men. They hear and see things men will not.”
You might know baseball’s infield fly rule. But did you know that cancer is the leading cause of death in Virginia? Here are a few more facts about prostate cancer:
- The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that produces seminal fluid.
- About 1 man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. In the U.S., 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer will be found in 2018.
- African-American men have about a 15% chance of developing prostate cancer in their lifetimes, compared to 10 percent chance for white men. What’s more, African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease and have double the risk of dying from it than white men.
- You can’t prevent prostate cancer, but you can lower your risk by eating at least 2-1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily.
Hill, 75, learned these stats the hard way. In 2002, a biopsy reveals that Hill had prostate cancer even though his blood test and rectal exams were normal.
“I had zero symptoms,” Hill says. “In fact, most men don’t feel anything. It doesn’t hurt or bleed in the early stages.”
In Hill’s case, his Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test results were in the normal range, but the number had been increasing about 10% a year, a warning sign. Other prostate cancer risks include having a brother or father with the disease and being African American.
Hill chose to treat his cancer by having his prostate removed – a nightmare for many men who worry about the sexual side effects of surgery. That fear prevents many men from seeking a diagnosis and treatment.
Hill tells those men there’s no sex after death.
“That gets their attention,” he says.
You can meet Hill at the seminar, which is limited to 50 attendees and a guest. The event will feature prostate cancer clinicians, including Dr. Allan Thornton, a HUPTI radiation oncologist, educators, and survivors who will answer questions about the disease, diagnosis, and treatment.
Proton therapy, one treatment option for prostate cancer, delivers a radiation dose directly to the tumor, sparing healthy, normal tissue. The process is non-invasive and doesn’t require a hospital stay.
“When you don’t irradiate sensitive surrounding tissues, you drive down the side effects,” says Dr. Christopher Sinesi, medical director of the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, which opened eight years ago and has treated more than 2,500 patients. “The prospect of higher cure rates with fewer side effects – that’s what all the excitement is about.”
The institute is the brainchild of Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey, who brought together more than 100 years of combined clinical experience to create the largest, free standing proton center in the world treating cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, head and neck, ocular, GI, brain and spine, and pediatric.
To receive more info about Prostate Cancer Awareness Night or to get complimentary tickets, call (757) 251-6800.
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