New initiative goals to enhance prostate most cancers screening in African American males

African American men in Cuyahoga County have a 60% increased risk of developing prostate cancer and an 80% increased risk of dying from prostate cancer compared to white men, according to the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

With a new three-year grant of $ 2.75 million from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, researchers at Case Western Reserve University’s Case Comprehensive Cancer Center will work with a team of community partners to tackle these health inequalities.

The Cleveland African American Prostate Cancer Project, led by Erika Trapl, an associate professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, will develop and implement a comprehensive, sustainable, community-based program. who have been screened for prostate cancer.

Trapl, the lead researcher on the research project, director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and director of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, said prostate cancer has no known modifiable risk factors, so early detection is the only way to get rid of prostate cancer -Lower mortality.

“The best choice,” she said, “is to detect prostate cancer early and reduce the diagnosis in later stages.”

To this end, Trapl has put together a team of researchers that includes expertise in the areas of cancer differences, social work, bioethics, culture-specific intervention development, urology, genetic epidemiology, public relations, and dissemination and implementation science.

The collaboration includes the Community Advisory Board of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Urban Barber Association, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, the Office of Minority Health, the Gathering Place, the Seidman Cancer Center of the University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer, the MetroHealth Cancer Center and the Cleveland Institute for Computational Biology. The team hopes to attract other partners as the work grows.

The project aims to develop and evaluate a community-based prostate cancer screening program, increase the number of African American men receiving a basic prostate-specific antigen (PSA), raise awareness of prostate cancer risk, and reduce cancer differences.

Elevated or steadily rising levels of PSA – proteins made by the prostate – could be a sign of prostate cancer. Studies defining the normal range of PSA levels are based on predominantly white populations. By establishing a baseline for African American men at an earlier age, researchers can establish baseline PSA ranges to aid in the detection of cancer at an earlier stage.

The initiative has four goals:

  • Work with hairdressers, community navigators, and healthcare providers to create a culturally and linguistically appropriate approach to prostate cancer education and screening.
  • Develop and implement a community navigation program that provides support services and returns review results to ensure that the needs of attendees and their families are being met.
  • Conduct prostate cancer education and early detection in barber shops with African American men (40 years and older).
  • Convene regional grassroots and institutional partners to raise awareness of the differences and screening for prostate cancer.

Through our experience of addressing health inequalities and removing barriers to equitable access to quality health care around the world, we recognize that this program contains the elements necessary for success. We are confident that this program will have a positive impact through the innovative approach that recognizes the value of barber shops as hubs in the community, strong and intensive collaboration facilitated by patient navigators, and a comprehensive and strategic plan for implementation and evaluation American men will have the fight against prostate cancer in Africa. “

Catharine Grimes, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation program director

The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation focuses on communities hardest hit by the effects of serious illnesses in the world’s hardest-hit regions, empowering partners to develop innovative solutions to advance health equity and access to improve quality healthcare for patients. The programs address cancer, cardiovascular and immunological diseases, as well as the variety of clinical trials in the United States and the cancers prevalent in Africa, Brazil and China.

The idea for the project was born last year at a meeting of the Community Advisory Board of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Budding research questions are presented to the group to ensure that the needs of the community are addressed from the start of a project through to completion. Complicated science has been distilled into simplified images and metaphors for easy understanding.

Waverly Willis, a member of the Community Advisory Board, recognizes the distrust between minorities and others who come into their neighborhoods and communities. “You have to be tactful and meet people where they are,” said Willis. Barbershops are part of the neighborhood and a trustworthy environment, said Willis, owner of Urban Kutz Barbershop, executive director of the Urban Barber Association and chairman of the Ohio Barber and Beauty Alliance.

“Our board pushed us to move work to places that are central to men’s lives, such as barbershops,” said Trapl. “From there, the idea took off thanks to the partnership of the people in this community who are facing these real problems. We hope this becomes a national model.”


Case Western Reserve University

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