|Print this story||Permalink|
A series of visits from three former New York Knicks players is underway at Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, part of an effort to encourage men at risk to get screened for prostate cancer.
Cal Ramsey was on hand at the hospitals cancer center Friday to sign autographs and pose for pictures. He will be followed by Willis Reed Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Dean Mimenger the following Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. During the basketball players appearances, male visitors will also be able to get a free screening for prostate cancer.
I think its very important to spread the word, Ramsey said Friday at the center after he spoke with a fan. Ramsey, now the Knicks director of community relations, said he gets an exam once a year. If you detect the problem early on, you can get it taken care of before it becomes a bigger problem, he said.
Hospital staff and administrators said prostate cancer was a particular problem in their area since black men are statistically more likely than white men to get the disease. To compound the problem, they said, many men in the area do not come in for exams, and that when those with the disease finally do come to the hospital, they are often in the late stages of their illness.
There is a cultural barrier, and were trying to break down that barrier, said Lata Vasconcellos, a spokeswoman for the hospital. In this particular community, the concern is to get the men on a regimen.
One of the men who came to see Ramsey, Winston Dandy of Richmond Hill, said he went in for a prostate exam once a year. But he knows many men who do not.
I know a lot of guys who get turned off from doctors, Dandy, 66, said. Its a woman thing, its not macho. Unfortunately, he does it to his detriment, he said, referring to men with such an attitude who do not get screened.
The center, which opened in July 2002, just began handling prostate cancer two weeks ago. While the staff acknowledge that a prostate screening can be invasive the procedure involves both a blood test and a rectal exam they stress the importance of getting tested so the disease can be caught early.
The staff recommends that black men come in for their first exam at age 40, 10 years earlier than they recommend for other men. To raise awareness in the community, the center has bought radio advertisements, handed out fliers and asked their staff to spread the word, among other strategies.
Weve found the most effective thing in this community is to go into the churches, Vasconcellos said. The center also used its connections to bring in Ramsey and the other Knicks.
Cal Ramsey helps us because they see someone who is their peer, Vasconcellos said, referring to middle-aged men in the community.
Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.