Prostate cancer awareness event set for June 17 in Surry

Published 1:03 pm Thursday, June 1, 2023

By Akilah Frye

Staff writer

During the Juneteenth weekend, the Hampton Roads Prostate Health Forum, in partnership with other groups, will run a Prostate Early Detection Event at the Surry Parks and Recreation Center on June 17. 

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The Hampton Roads Prostate Health Forum is the region’s leading prostate cancer advocacy and education organization. 

“The main thing we focus on is reducing suffering and saving lives,” said Charlie Hill, the organization’s president and co-founder and himself a prostate cancer survivor. “The suffering impacts families and the patient. The loss of life upsets everything in the household.” 

Prostate cancer takes a harsher toll on Black men than other American men.

“Certainly throughout the world, the United States, and our region the statistics as it relates to Black men are the worst,” Hill said. “The real question is, What do you do about it? And that’s where we step in.” 

Many factors can increase the risk and/or worsen the outcome of prostate cancer, including age, family history, smoking and obesity.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is a time for community and celebration, and the Hampton Roads Prostate Health Forum is using this time to create a space of fellowship and education for the Black community in Isle of Wight County and surrounding areas.

“We’ve had an event in Virginia Beach in January, Newport News in February and Portsmouth in April,” said Reggie Holmes, marketing manager with the Hampton Roads Prostate Health Forum.  “We try to engage men that know a lot and those that don’t know anything about prostate cancer.” 

There are many treatment choices and learning opportunities available, but the barrier is a lack of awareness.

“There isn’t a lot of media addressing prostate cancer, so unfortunately there are some Black men that unless they have been exposed to the facts of prostate cancer from a family member could be completely unaware that prostate cancer has a negative effect on a Black man,” said Everett Browning, treasurer of the Hampton Roads Prostate Health Forum. 

Tieing in this event with Juneteenth is to create a space to raise awareness and educate Black men and their loved ones who are heavily impacted by prostate cancer. 

“What we want is all the men and the people in their lives who are interested in this issue of prostate health and prostate cancer,” said Hill. “We want to provide a wellness experience so they can know more about this subject.”

The main part of the event will last from 9 a.m. to noon and will include awareness and education sessions, free PSA tests and digital rectal (DRE) exams. Mask-wearing and social distancing will be required per public health guidance. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be a kid- and family-friendly activities for everyone to enjoy, a special Juneteenth ceremony, a music festival, a DJ Showcase and more.

Call 1-800-520-7006 to register.