Foundation Launches Black Cancer Research Group
The Philadelphia Prostate Cancer Foundation is striving to raise $400,000 to launch the first African American prostate cancer research group. PCF officials say this is the first effort of its kind in the country.
“This is one of the most important projects that I have ever worked on because of the chance there is to make a difference,” said Rebecca Boudwin, executive director of the PPCF.
Boudwin noted that one out of two African-American men would be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
If the foundation is successful in meeting its goal of raising $400,000 by the end of the year the organization would be eligible for larger government grants by entities such as the National Institutes of Health.
Last year, PCCF launched an African-American committee, which is led by Congressman Chaka Fattah. Various athletes, physicians business and community leaders are members of the community.
Dr. Curtiland Deville, committee member and a radiation oncologist at University of Pennsylvania said there are a number of factors that need to be studied to determine why African American men have higher incidents of prostate cancer than white men.
“What’s more compelling is Black men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer, than white men are,” said Deville.
“The bottom line is we don’t know what those reasons are. Are there socioeconomic issues with healthcare access – issues with bias or institutional racism? Or are there underlying environmental factors – diet and lifestyle and underlying biologic issues? I think all of those are factors that need to be studied and investigated and we need funding to be able to do that,”
Deville said this is an opportunity the community to become involved in supporting a unique research effort.
“Even if you give a small amount, here’s your opportunity to buy into [finding] the reason why Black men are more affected by prostate cancer,” he stated.
The foundation would use the funds to hire a director for the research program and build the research group. The goal is to launch the research group by June 1, 2014.