State House event to highlight prostate cancer awareness

By Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

March 30, 2016
Mitchell Sokoloff, MD

The event, hosted by the AdMeTech Foundation, will include a panel discussion; free counseling on screening, diagnosis and treatment; and exhibits on prostate health from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dr. Sokoloff, chair and professor of urology, will help moderate the expert panel on prostate cancer. He will also share some of his work in the Worcester region that focuses on increasing access to care and awareness of prostate health for those determined to be at higher risk.

Sokoloff said there have been long-standing issues with awareness of and access to prostate cancer screening and treatment options in the region. Those issues are compounded by the disproportionate disease burden on black men and recent immigrants from Africa in Central Massachusetts.

For example, black men in Worcester County are nearly two and a half times more likely than white men to die from prostate cancer. According to the 2013 Mass Community Health Information Profile, the mortality rate for black men from prostate cancer is 54.4 per 100,000 compared to 21.9 in 100,000 of white men. The report also states that black men have a higher incidence of contracting the disease—356 out of 100,000 for black men compared to 149 out of 100,000 for white men.

“We need to educate black men about the risk of prostate cancer and need to ensure access to care,” Sokoloff said, adding that there needs to be a rational approach to screening and treatment through education and shared decision making with physicians.

Sokoloff said the medical community shouldn’t miss diagnosing aggressive forms of the disease, but also should not over-treat indolent cancer.

Mitchell Sokoloff, MD, will join Gov. Charlie Baker, legislators and medical professionals at the 8th Annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Day on Thursday, March 31, at the State House to recognize prostate cancer as a public health priority.