South Texas men have chance to march for prostate cancer awareness


San Antonio (Aug. 10, 2004) – On Saturday, Sept. 4, hundreds of men will get together at the Alamodome in downtown San Antonio, but it won’t be for a football game, outdoors show, power tool exhibition or monster tractor pull. The men will be there to talk about prostate cancer and remember grandfathers, fathers, brothers and good friends who have had the disease. Some will be present to celebrate their life after prostate cancer.

They will participate in the American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer March for Awareness, which begins at 9 a.m. Sept. 4 at the Alamodome and continues with the march to Sunset Station. “As the name of the event implies, we want to raise awareness, specifically that men who have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer most commonly return to a full and healthy life,” said Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., professor of surgery and chief of urology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

A brilliant surgeon who treats men with the disease and leads a groundbreaking Health Science Center prostate cancer research program to find more-specific diagnostic tools, Dr. Thompson is the impassioned event chairman. He will be one of those marching for a loved one lost to prostate cancer – his grandfather. Those who march in honor of loved ones will wear signs with their friend’s or relative’s name on their backs.

“For many years, nobody talked about prostate cancer and men didn’t talk to others about it,” Dr. Thompson said. “Some of that ‘not-talking-about-it’ may be responsible for why some men don’t get checked for it at all and, when they’re found to have prostate cancer, it’s no longer curable. This is a common problem in some groups. We have to stop it from happening.”

At the start of the march, participants will hear from Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a champion for health care in the Texas Legislature. At the end, several survivors will address the marchers.

Dr. Thompson also leads the Cancer Prevention and Population Science (CPPS) program of the San Antonio Cancer Institute (SACI), an NCI Clinical Cancer Center that is a partnership between the Health Science Center and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio. One of the goals of the CPPS program is to improve survival rates among African Americans and other men who are at higher risk for prostate cancer.

“The CPPS Program is newly energized at SACI,” said Carolyn Walden, SACI associate director for administration. “Dr. Thompson has lent a level of activity to the program that is unprecedented. CPPS researchers are invested in early detection and screening as well as prevention for prostate cancer. We support grant writing to support basic science and we also partner with Health Science Center and CTRC clinical programs to advance cancer treatment. The Prostate Cancer March for Awareness is an important event for SACI and we are excited about being more deeply involved in the community.”

Dr. Thompson is urging men to get involved. “Some doubt that prostate cancer survivors will actually come to the march,” he said. “I’m convinced that men will come.”

The march is open to anyone with an interest in prostate cancer. For more information about the Prostate Cancer March for Awareness, call the American Cancer Society at (210) 614-4211. T-shirts will be available at the event for $5.

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