Awareness, screenings needed for prostate cancer

The news: Three weeks after undergoing prostate cancer surgery, Cook County Board President Todd H. Stroger announced in July that he is starting a countywide awareness program for prostate cancer. Behind the news: Under a similar initiative started in 1999 by Stroger’s father, John, the Cook County Department of Public Health said it managed to screen only 244 men for prostate cancer in fiscal year 2006. By comparison, the National Prostate Cancer Coalition and the Chicago Sun-Times sponsored prostate cancer screenings in the Chicago region in April and screened 3,695 men, 27 percent of whom were African American, according to Brooke Saltzer, spokeswoman for the coalition. Saltzer said public initiatives like this usually attract about 200 men a day. According to the Office of Minority Health, a branch of the U.S. Department of Public Health, black men can be up to 60 percent more likely than white men to contract the disease and are twice as likely to die from it.