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How Barbers Became Prostate Cancer Fighters

I was drawn to this interesting story in today's Washington Post about the newest recruits in the effort to battle prostate cancer: African American barbers. More than 800 barbers nationwide have been recruited and trained by the prostate cancer organization Prostate Net to reach out to African American men, the sector with the highest risk group for the disease.

In conjunction with last year's release of the successful movie sequel Barbershop 2 and help from MGM Studios, Prostate Net launched the Barbershop Initiative, which enlisted doctors at 57 medical centers across the country to train barbers to discuss prostate cancer with their clientele.

The probable reasons Prostate Net launched the grassroots campaign:

  • African American men die of prostate cancer at twice the rate of other American men.
  • Poor dietary habits that emphasize high-fat foods.
  • Generally, African American men are more reluctant to visit physicians than others.
  • Barbers may notice health problems regarding hair, nails and skin before their clients do.

Those who are involved in the program believe this kind of personal outreach from a trusted source will encourage African American men to be more knowledgeable and attentive to their health and better learn how to prevent it. The good news: Prostate cancer is a relatively slow-growing cancer and is easy to control if it's caught early enough. The important thing is understanding how to properly treat it.

I don't believe it is wise to implement aggressive, conventional medical strategies such as hormone-suppression. Instead, there are a number of safe, healthy techniques to treating prostate cancer that don't rely on the use of medications. Along with getting a PSA screening, here's some other ways you can fight and prevent prostate cancer:

Washington Post March 28, 2005

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