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CORI's Community Outreach Program

May 14, 2011 - Prostate Cancer Education

Following the success of its first outreach event in Carson, CORI continues its efforts to reach out to medically underserved communities, where there is often a dearth of high-quality cancer care. While the first event was on general cancer education for the community, CORI's second event focused on prostate cancer education. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, following only skin cancer. Each year, 186,000 American men learn that they have prostate cancer. Unfortunately, men often do not seek medical attention until their cancer has progressed, severely limiting treatment options and the chance of success.

In collaboration with the NAACP, CORI hosted the prostate cancer-education event at PIPS Pizza, Pasta, Salads, a popular Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, on May 14, 2011. The event was deemed "Men-Only" to provide an open environment for the audience, which consisted of representatives from the lower-income African-American communities of Los Angeles. Celebrities, including The Insider's Kevin Frazier, actor Glenn Thurman and Lakers PA Announcer, Lawrence Tanner, also attended, encouraging attendance and participation in the educational discussion. Actor, Keith David, also generously donated his time to moderate the event. More than 40 men enjoyed the delicious Italian fare and enthusiastically participated in the presentation given by Dr. Lawrence Paletz, esteemed urologist and a founder of the Paletz Agatstein Urology Group.

A close friend and colleague of CORI's Dr. Ronald Hurst, Dr. Paletz shared his extensive knowledge and experience with prostate cancer in a comprehensive lecture. The lecture was punctuated by attentive questions from the audience. The presentation started with the basics of how malignant tumors develop in the prostate and the various risk factors for getting prostate cancer. Family history, age and race are common risk factors. Dr. Paletz stressed that men over the age of 45 should get annual prostate exams.

Next, Dr. Paletz discussed and answered questions about the many available treatment options. He noted that the best treatment option for each patient varies, depending on age, the grade of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, the symptoms that the patient is experiencing and their general health.

Dr. Paletz concluded his lecture with suggestions for the prevention of prostate cancer. He emphasized that routine exams are crucial, since prostate cancer is more easily treated when detected early. While studies have shown that the chance of getting prostate cancer is not increased by tobacco, alcohol use, sexually transmitted diseases, or obesity, good nutrition and regular exercise is still suggested. Dr. Paletz noted, "If it is good for your heart, it is probably good for your prostate." He also stated that it is important to note that, while not proven risk factors for getting prostate cancer, tobacco, alcohol and obesity have been shown to increase one's chance of getting other types of cancer, such as liver cancer and breast cancer.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session. CORI's Dr. Anton Bilchik joined Dr. Paletz and Dr. Hurst on the panel. The participants were given the options of asking questions anonymously through notecards or addressing the panel directly. For over an hour, the doctors answered questions on many subjects, such as the relationship between cancer and race, symptoms, risk factors, chemotherapy, PSA levels, the costs of cancer treatment, and the herbal supplements and "alternative treatments" advertised on television.

The effects of this event were both immediate and profound. During the Q&A session, a participant inquired the CORI panel about his abdominal pain. As a result of the panel's recommendations, the gentleman sought out his primary care physician that following Monday. He was subsequently diagnosed with gastric cancer and underwent a cancer-curing surgery. The members of CORI consider any event, in which even one person is positively affected, a significant and worthwhile success.

A full description of the 3 hours of question and answers, including the questions posed by the participants and the in-depth answers given by the doctors, is available on CORI's Facebook page: CORI Cancer Support Group.


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