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A Veteran’s Call to Action: Take Charge, Know Your Risk for Prostate Cancer
Published On: January 1st, 2021|537 words|1.8 min read|
VA teamed up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to encourage men (and their families) to better understand prostate cancer risk and to take proactive measures to protect their health.
2021 will come with new ideas and goals, and there’s no better time to know your risk. Now is the time to make a plan to talk to your doctor at your next checkup about whether prostate cancer screening is right for you.
Gulf War Veteran Milton “Trey” Wilborn III, who lost his battle to an aggressive form of prostate cancer at the age of 49 in 2020, generously volunteered to share his story with other Veterans. In the newly released video, co-created by the VA Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships and PCF, Wilborn urged men to get checked, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms or feel they are too young.
“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 45,” Wilborn said. “I never even knew what a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) was. I didn’t know what a prostate was until I got sick.”
VA partnered with PCF in 2016 to advance best-in-class research and care for Veterans at risk for prostate cancer. Oncologists at 12 VA PCF Centers of Excellence (COE’s) are collaborating to bring the latest breakthroughs to Veterans.
To date, PCF has committed more than $50 million to this collaboration and recently publicly announced a commitment to help stand up 21 total COEs. So far, hundreds of Veterans have been seen by a doctor for precision oncology at one of 12 COEs across the country. These centers are working to ensure every Veteran can access cutting-edge advances in prostate cancer research and treatment.
“VA does take care of their Veterans,” Wilborn says in the video. “Their treatment is the best, you have all the newest, latest, greatest equipment and everything in all the treatments.”
When PCF started working with the Washington DC VA Medical Center, Wilborn and his wife Shawni stepped up to work with PCF to champion prostate cancer awareness. You can read more about their touching story here.
Milton shared how the message of early detection, if it reached just one Veteran, could save lives. “God put me in a position to be able to tell my story,” he said, adding that he was grateful for the opportunity to help educate other men and their families.
Among those that VA and PCF hope to reach: African American men remain the hardest hit by prostate cancer. They are 79% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men, and are more than twice as likely to die from the disease compared to men of other ethnicities.
Precision screening is the best defense for men against prostate cancer. Awareness of your risk and talking to your doctor about screening are the next steps every man can take in 2021.
Vantage Point, VA’s official blog, has transitioned to VA News. For the latest in VA news and information, visit the new site at news.va.gov and update your bookmarks. Vantage Point is no longer being updated.