Movember prostate cancer awareness program kicked off Wednesday

By William K. Alcorn


The Mercy Health Foundation and Man Up Mahoning Valley are again asking Mahoning Valley men to grow facial hair during November to raise awareness of and start a community conversation about prostate cancer.

The fifth annual campaign, known around the world as Movember because Mo is a nickname for moustache, kicked off Wednesday with a press conference at Partners for Urology Health in Austintown.

Locally, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, making the illness the most commonly diagnosed cancer, second only to skin cancer.

The good news is that rates of survival, and even the possibility of being cured, are high when detected early, said Jonathan Fauvie, manager of strategic initiatives and communications for Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley.

“Movember gives us an opportunity during November to tackle a tough conversation with humor as well as sincerity,” said Paul Homick Jr., foundation president.

“When we say grow a ’stache,’ start a conversation, save a life, we are truly doing just that. I believe it is critically important for Mercy Health to provide services so men can lead healthier lives,” said Homick, who encouraged men to get prostate screenings, a number of which are offered by Mercy Health.

“Earlier detection of prostate cancer results in earlier treatment and better medical outcomes,” he said.

Elden Britton, 70, of Austintown, a two-year survivor whose prostate cancer was caught by a PSA screening, attended the Movember 2017 kickoff.

“Without the screening, the cancer would not have been found as soon,” Britton said.

Man Up Mahoning Valley and Mercy Health recommend that all men over 40 talk to their doctor about having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE), and recommend that they get both screenings. Prostate cancer strikes men in their 40s, 50s and 60s, not just older men, officials said.

There are reasons why Mahoning Valley men in particular should seriously consider having the PSA and DRE tests.

Man Up Mahoning Valley said prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Mahoning Valley men; Youngstown’s prostate cancer incidence is higher than Ohio’s; and Mahoning Valley’s African-American men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as any other race.

Fauvie urged women, whom he said are the “health CEOs of the house,” to join in on the conversation and encourage the men they love to get annual physical examinations and prostate-cancer screening tests.

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