Prostate Cancer Education Program Targets Black Men in Barbershops
Providing black men with information about prostate cancer during visits to their local barbers has been an effective educational and screening tool, according to Virgil Simons, founder of The Prostate Net, a prostate cancer awareness organization, HealthDay/Forbes reports. Studies have shown that black men have a 60% higher risk of prostate cancer than whites and are almost 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease. The disparity has been attributed to a lack of access to routine health care.
Simons, a prostate cancer survivor and black textile industry executive, presented data on The Prostate Net this week at the Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today 2007 meeting in Atlanta. He said that "anecdotal reports" have shown the program is "making a difference."
The Prostate Net was founded 11 years ago to educate and inform people about the disease and teach "them how to empower themselves," according to Simons. A program offered by the organization has enlisted 4,000 barbers nationwide to provide cancer education and screening for minority men. "I knew there had to be another form of outreach, particularly for those at high risk of that disease, minority men," Simons said, adding, "So I set up a program where medical centers around the country educated barbers, and they provided information on screening and free care."
Several of the participating barbershops also have multimedia workstations that provide video clips, written material, podcasts and Web information on the disease. In 2006, more than 100 medical centers across the nation also participated in the program. Simons said a survey to assess how the barbershops influence knowledge and behavior about prostate cancer has been developed (Edelson, HealthDay/Forbes, 9/6).