BOSTON – In a full-court press effort to highlight the critical importance of early detection of prostate cancer, AdMeTech Foundation hosted the state’s sixth annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Day June 19, bringing together House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, Marathon legend and prostate cancer survivor Bill Rodgers and leading medical experts.
The Statehouse event focused on making Massachusetts the national leader in awareness of and education about prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common major malignancy in the U.S. and in Massachusetts, with 60 percent higher incidence and 250 percent higher mortality in men with African-American heritage. An American man dies every 18 minutes, in spite of the 100 percent survival rate at five years after early detection. In sharp contrast, only 28 percent of men remain alive within five years after a late diagnosis.
Awareness and education are critical, as PSA screening alone – the only clinical tool widely available for early detection today – has led to over-diagnosis and over-treatment of slow-growing disease, which is not likely to cause problems in a man’s lifetime.
“Prostate cancer is a public health crisis, largely because of preventable loss of countless lives combined with unnecessary procedures, which reduce the quality of life in millions of men and add billions of dollars to health care costs,” Dr. Faina Shtern, president of the AdMeTech Foundation and a daughter of a prostate cancer survivor, said. “I thank all the key stakeholders who attended the sixth annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Day. Together, we will ensure that patient care will be based on the most recent advances in scientific knowledge in order to improve early detection and treatment of the aggressive disease and to reduce false alarms.”
“Proper use of PSA detection and treatment saves lives,” Dr. Philip Kantoff, a member of the event’s organizing committee and a professor of medicine at Harvard University and director of the Dana Farber Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, said. “The value of PSA detection has been diluted by the problem of over-treatment. The value of PSA needs to be recognized along with the need to not over-treat men who have indolent disease.”
Dr. Adam Kibel, professor of surgery and chief of Urology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, spoke at the event.
“Before the advent of PSA screening, patients routinely presented with advanced, incurable disease,” he said. “PSA screening has dramatically improved our ability to detect the cancer earlier, when it is still treatable.”
“Prostate cancer continues to be one of the most common and lethal cancers affecting men, and it’s critical that we continue to come together as a firm reminder that this is a serious public health crisis,” Murray said. “Early detection and treatment remain our best defenses against this silent killer, and through our continued support of AdMeTech and their partner organizations, as well as new research and medical breakthroughs, we are helping to save thousands of lives across the state.”