Archie Hicks gets bloodwork done twice a year ever since his surgery to treat prostate cancer five years ago. Each time, he waits for a call with the results, and it’s been good news.
Hicks, 72, shared his story of surviving prostate cancer at “Prostate Cancer: Impact on African American Men” Tuesday evening at the UT Health East Texas Pavilion Conference Center in Tyler. About 100 people filled the room, and speakers shared information and their stories about prostate cancer and its relation to the African American community.
Frank Ward, a retired medical oncologist with 30 years experience, presented information about the anatomy of the prostate and cancer statistics with a focus on how it affects African Americans at a higher rate. The prostate cancer rate is about 1 in 9 men and 1 in 7 African American men, he said.
The presentation was designed to inform attendees about screening and detection of prostate cancer as well as make it more comfortable to talk about the subject, Ward said.
UT Health East Texas information technology system analyst Roderick Russell came to socialize with other attendees and to share his story. Russell had a prostatectomy, a surgery that partially or completely removes the prostate, just 12 days before the event.
“It’s kind of nice to be able to come out here and talk to some of these gentlemen about, ‘Hey, I’m 42 years old and it got diagnosed and had to get it out as quickly as possible,’” he said.
The key is to educate one another, he said, adding that people should find out their family medical history if they don’t know and talk to their doctor about screening for prostate cancer.
“A lot of people, you know, they hear about it and, of course, in the black community we don’t talk a lot about health with each other,” Russell said.
For those who find themselves diagnosed with cancer, Hicks said to not get stressed and “keep hope alive.”
“If you get diagnosed with something like that, don’t announce the death sentence,” Hicks said. “A lot of people do that.”