By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
THE UsTOO Prostate Cancer Education & Support Group is hosting several events in an effort to raise continued awareness of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men throughout the world. It occurs when cells in the prostate gland grow out of control. There are often no early prostate cancer symptoms, but some men have urinary symptoms and discomfort.
With prostate cancer affecting one in six men during their lifetime, it is the goal of the support group to encourage men in taking proactive approaches to their health.
The Grand Bahama UsTOO chapter is hosting a boat cruise event that will be held on June 29 at 8pm. Boarding time at the Port Lucaya Marina is 7pm. The boat leaves at 8pm.
The event is one of several fundraisers the organisation hosts yearly to finance efforts to bring more awareness of annual screening for prostate cancer.
Don Mitchell, a prostate cancer survivor and active member of UsTOO said the group’s motto is ‘early detection is our best protection’.
“To accomplish this, we require a lot of material to feed our publicity campaign when we visit the many men’s church groups, talk shows, civic groups and business houses in Grand Bahama. We also place ads on television and radio and in the print media in Grand Bahama,” he said.
UsTOO is an organisation that is dedicated to educating on the issue of prostate cancer. It also advocates on behalf of the less fortunate for affordable medical diagnostic and therapeutic services and encourages annual screenings by all men.
Funds raised from the boat cruise will go towards the group’s signature free screening event held during September - Prostate Cancer Month. The free screening event will be held on September 13 and 14.
“In this effort, we screened 89 men in 2011 and a whopping 300 in 2012. Because we had to turn some men away in 2012, this year we will have the screening over two days. This free screening is for the men of Grand Bahama who might not otherwise be able to afford it. We raise funds for this through events such as the boat cruise but most of the funding for this event comes from corporate Grand Bahama.
“As a survivor, I can espouse, without fear of contradiction, the benefits of awareness. And in our work to spread this concept, since our first screening exercise in 2011, UsTOO has encountered a number of men now seeking further treatment due to early diagnosis, who will survive their bout with prostate cancer as a result of awareness and early detection. Some of the men we meet actually become members of UsTOO. They want to help us. Simply put, it is a matter of life and death. I am not the only survivor in UsTOO Grand Bahama. At our meetings we allow our survivors to testify to our audience about their successful battle with this dreaded disease. Everyone who survives owes it to awareness and early detection,” he told Tribune Health.
UsTOO has planned a series of events leading up to September including a church service, a walk, and an annual lunch.
The group has also planned two town meetings in July which will coincide with the annual clinic for breast and prostate cancer screening taking place that month.
UsTOO will also be the beneficiary of part proceeds from the First Annual Mitchell Mortimer Memorial Golf Tournament held in Grand Bahama.