Buffalo Bills Join Wilmot Cancer Center in Tackling Prostate Cancer

August 20, 2003

"Prostate cancer is very curable when it’s detected early."

The James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong and the Buffalo Bills are Tackling Prostate Cancer and today announced an aggressive education program encouraging men to participate in proactive screenings.

Last month, the team was stunned when Bills’ wide receivers coach Fred Graves was diagnosed with the disease. Graves is recovering from surgery and expects to return to coaching in a few weeks.

The Tackling Prostate Cancer program includes educational brochures, trading cards and a series of video messages for fans at Buffalo Bills’ games at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  There will also be an extensive advertising program to encourage men in Rochester, Buffalo and Western New York to call their doctor to schedule the screening.

“I’m very glad to be a part this campaign,” says Josh Reed, Bills’ wide receiver. “All of us learned first-hand how common prostate cancer is when Coach (Fred) Graves was diagnosed last month. We’re all thankful that it was detected early and, because of that he’s well on his way to a full recovery. Hopefully this program leads to more education, more screenings, and more successes in the battle against it.”

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men, behind skin cancer.  This year in the United States, more than 220,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease and one in six men will face it in their lifetime. All men are at risk of developing prostate cancer as they age. 

“Prostate cancer is very curable when it’s detected early,” says Deepak Sahasrabudhe M.D., director of the genitourinary oncology clinic at the Wilmot Cancer Center, a part of Strong Health. “Many times this disease isn’t found until it’s in an advanced stage if a man doesn’t get the proper tests – the PSA blood test and digital rectal exam.”

The Wilmot Cancer Center will offer free screenings for men during Prostate Cancer Awareness Week in September.  The screening will include a PSA test, which detects the level of prostate specific antigen in blood, and a digital rectal exam.

Men who are at most risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis are over 55, have a family history of the disease, or are African American.  Experts recommend that men begin annual screenings at age 50, unless they have cancer in their family or are African American, and then they should begin at 45.

The Wilmot Cancer Center is a leader in cancer care and research in Western New York.  The doctors, nurses and scientists are dedicated to their mission: to beat cancer.

Facts and figures about prostate cancer

  • The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The tube that carries urine (the urethra) runs through the prostate.   The prostate contains cells that make seminal fluid, which nourishes and protects sperm.
  • Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in blood. Prostate cancer may also be found when a doctor does a digital rectal examination (DRE).
  • Prostate cancer is nearly always curable if detected at its earliest stages.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends men should begin annual prostate cancer screenings at age 50, unless they have relatives who have had prostate cancer or are African-American, and they could begin testing at 45.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. There will be about 220,900 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States this year. About 28,900 men will die of this disease.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, exceeded only by lung cancer. While one man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, only one man in 32 will die of this disease.
  • African-American men are more likely to have prostate cancer and to die of the disease than are white or Asian men. The reasons for this are still not known.
  • The chance of having prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50. More than 70 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. It is still unclear why this increase with age occurs for prostate cancer.

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Leslie White
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