Remarks presented by Dr. Sanford J. Siegel at the Press Conference & Luncheon
Published On: 05/13/2008
Over the past several years, Chesapeake Urology has established a significant presence throughout Maryland. We currently have over 300 employees with 42 physicians and associates who provide urological services in over 20 locations in 6 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. Our doctors and staff are committed to the patients we serve as well as the communities that we live and work in. Early on, Chesapeake established a set of core values which has served to focus our efforts and ensure that we stay committed to those things that we believe are important. One of those core values is our commitment to support and give back to the community. Chesapeake Urology has consistently taken an active role in various causes, be it support of local community events or the recent establishment of the Chesapeake Urology Scholarship that gives grants to worthy students in all the medical fields. However, as a result of our commitment, we always look at ways that we can do even more.
Last year, at the suggestion of my associate, Sean Van Zijl, we created and organized the first event in Maryland focused solely on prostate cancer. Our goal was to increase awareness for this disease, provide screening opportunities for those men unable to get screening and raise money for prostate cancer research. We did this by way of a 5K Walk & Run that I was told was the most successful first time event of its kind in Maryland. We had over 1,100 participants and raised over $100,000 for prostate cancer research. Lenny Moore, former Baltimore Colt #24, Hall of Fame member and prostate cancer survivor was our Honorary Chairman. We return this year with a new name for the event and even greater enthusiasm. Lenny returns this year, also. The name of this year's event is the "Great Prostate Cancer Challenge." It will again be held on the campus of the St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson Maryland, and will take place on Sunday morning, September 14th at 8 a.m. St. Joseph Medical Center along with its newly opened Cancer Institute continues to be a strong supporter of our event.
The success of this event last year did not go unnoticed by my colleagues across the country. Consequently, my colleagues in Nashville, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Indianapolis, Indiana are all joining Chesapeake Urology and staging similar events in their home cities. All proceeds from these events have been committed to the American Urological Association Foundation and will be used exclusively to further programs to improve awareness, offer screening opportunities and fund prostate cancer research. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day we can claim that the monies we raised were instrumental in finding the cure for prostate cancer. I know I would like that as my legacy!
Our vision for these events is "to do for men's health and prostate cancer what organizations like Susan B. Koman has been able to do for women's health and breast cancer research." This year alone 200,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and almost 29,000 men will die due to complications of the disease. In 2050, it is expected the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will rise to 400,000 and deaths will rise to 100,000.
Sadly, African American men currently have a 60% greater chance of developing prostate cancer than Caucasian men and they are typically diagnosed at a later stage. However, with earlier screening and diagnosis, cure rates for African-American men should be comparable to the rest of the population if they are diagnosed earlier. The simple fact is that screening and early detection saves lives.
With that in mind, we have also developed an ambitious plan to provide free prostate cancer screening in connection with five or six of the larger African-American churches in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. This was made possible as a result of the relationship between Chesapeake and religious leaders such as Dr. Frank Reid of Bethel AME, Reverend Harold Carter of New Shiloh Baptist Church, Bishop Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple, Bishop Walter Thomas and others. They are committed to providing health initiatives to promote better quality of life for their congregants and members of their community.
Our plan is to provide prostate screening vans at each of the selected churches and, following their Sunday service, have the church leadership escort their members to the vans for prostate screening. They will lead the way! These screening events will begin in August continue through September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and finish in early October. They will begin on August 10th at New Shiloh and Bethel AME Church's in Baltimore.
Our goal is to screen over 1,000 men who ordinarily might not have the opportunity to have a prostate examination and PSA test. Chesapeake physicians will be responsible for providing the examinations and evaluating the test results and all participants will receive the appropriate follow-up care. Chesapeake is committed to providing this care as part of our commitment to the African-American community.
We have also received significant support from the Mayor of Baltimore, Sheila Dixon, Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore and Congressman Gregory Meeks from the 6th Congressional District in NYC. They had a resolution passed in the House of Representatives that "recognizes that prostate cancer has created a health crises for African-American men." Mr. Cummings and Mr. Meeks have recently sponsored legislation passed in Congress that designates additional funds for research, education, awareness outreach and early detection screening programs in the inner cites throughout the United States. Mayor Dixon has pledged her commitment to "a cleaner, greener, healthier, safer city and therefore she is partnering with us for these screening programs".
Finally, as further evidence of our commitment to the community, Chesapeake Urology is sponsoring a major musical event to coincide with the Great Prostate Cancer Challenge 5K Run and Walk. This event will not only raise awareness but also help us raise much- needed funds for prostate cancer research. We are bringing Patti LaBelle to Baltimore's Pier 6 on Saturday, September 6th to do just that! My thought was that if we can get 4,300 men and women in the seats at the Pier, We will be able to educate them about prostate cancer and let Patti entertain them. So here comes Patti LaBelle and Chesapeake Urology is proud to bring her to Baltimore.
Our two major sponsors for both the 5K Walk & Run and the musical gala are WJZ TV and Radio-One and we confirmed that Vic Carter will be the host of the Patti LaBelle concert.
Although Chesapeake is in the business of providing urologic care to our patients and not in the music business we are committed to our mission and core values and we will deliver that commitment anyway we can.
So here are our goals:
- Raise awareness for the second most common form of cancer diagnosed in men and a potential killer if not found early.
- A major effort to provide free prostate cancer screening, especially for African-American men.
- Raise money for prostate cancer research to find the cure.
Who can question these goals? The motives of Chesapeake are clear and the commitment of our people is genuine. I urge all members of the press to spread the word. We can make a real difference in people's lives through our work here. We hope to make this the start of a national effort to educate people about prostate cancer and potentially improve the lives of tens of thousands men across America. We can make a difference!!
Thank you for being here today and I will take any questions you may have.