Prostate cancer is extremely treatable…if caught in time.
Now there is a new way for the testing to come to you.
The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City is rolling out the first ever mobile prostate exam bus to reach men who may not otherwise think of being checked for possible prostate cancer.
“Our goal is that with increased education, awareness, and access to testing, we can help detect prostate cancer early, save lives, and close the gaps in high-risk diagnostic and fatalities rates,” says Dr. Ash Tewari, the Chair of Urology at the Mount Sinai Health System and the Kyung Hyun Kim, MD Professor of Urology at the Icahn School of Medicine. Tewari, a world-renowned urologist, has performed more than 7,000 prostate surgeries and knows how early detection can save lives, which is why his office is hitting the streets.
The bus, known as The Mount Sinai Robert F. Smith Mobile Prostate Cancer Screening Unit, will visit New York City neighborhoods where men could be at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, particularly African American communities. Mount Sinai estimates that more than 13% of Black men between the ages 45 and 79 will develop prostate cancer and that Black men have a 70% higher rate of developing prostate cancer than Whites. The American Cancer society shockingly says that black men are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than their white counterparts.
“The idea for the Robert F. Smith Mobile MRI Unit was in response to a major health problem—the higher incidence and mortality of prostate cancer in Black men, which I not only identified in my own practice and research, but across the country. Reasons for this include access to health care, the environment, comorbidities and even specific molecular pathways in the body for Black men,” says Tewari.
The mobile home sized bus is named for Robert Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners, is a Wall Street African-American trailblazer who has decided to contribute the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes. He donated nearly $4 million to put the bus on the streets, saying that he did so to make sure that “we do not continue to lose far too many husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, sons and friends to this disease.”
“It is unconscionable that in our great country and at this moment of technical breakthrough, Black Americans are still subject to staggeringly worse health care outcomes. We can fix this,” he said.
Doctors advise that all men over 55 years of age, and Black men over 45, should consider prostate screening. It can involve a simple blood test to determine the PSA number, known as a baseline prostate-specific antigen, that can indicate the presence of prostate cancer or inflammation with elevated numbers.
Noted names who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer have ranged from former Secretary of State John Kerry to golfer Arnold Palmer, Major League Baseball icon Joe Torre to musician Frank Zappa, among others.
African American men who have been diagnosed include Harry Belafonte, the late former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Major League Baseball legend Ken Griffey Sr. and “Today Show” weatherman and personality Al Roker, who has helped spread the word about the bus with Dr. Tewari after his own diagnosis and successful treatment.
Fox Business Senior Correspondent Charlie Gasparino has recently gone public with his prostate cancer battle and surgery.
“I’ve been having rising PSA levels for the last year or two years,” he said before he was diagnosed. “A lot of men don’t want to deal with it and they don’t deal with it until it’s too late.”
“Take action, listen to your doctors and don’t be afraid.”
Dr. Tewari’s blue and white bus is intended to make getting checked easier. It has the equipment that is also found in his office to detect prostate cancer, but on the road, such as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine, (MRI) and doctors can conduct prostate screening procedures such as the PSA tests, ultrasound and bladder scanning, and other procedures.
The American Cancer Society says more than 3 million men in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the disease and that it causes more than 34,000 deaths a year.
The message on the side of the Mount Sinai bus says it all: “Do it for you. Do it for them. Catch Prostate Cancer early.”