Jesse Harris, left, and Lansing Lee will take part in event., Muskogee, OK

One out of every six men will get prostate cancer, according to the University of Oklahoma Cancer Institute.

African-American men are 60 percent more likely to get the disease and 2 1/2 times more likely to die from it.

However, with early diagnosis and treatment, the survival rate is 98 percent.

In an effort to raise community awareness about prostate cancer, an educational event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Martin Luther King Center, 617 N. Third St. The event is scheduled in tandem with a free screening hosted by Muskogee Regional Medical Center earlier in the day.

Keynote speaker Jesse Harris, state facilitator for Comprehensive Health Awareness and Promotion (CHAP) coalition, is a recent cancer survivor.

“In October 2005, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer; underwent surgery Feb. 2, 2006, and now very proud to say I am blessed to be cancer free,” Harris said. “Early detection and diagnosis is everything when dealing with this silent killer.”

Harris said it’s important that screenings like the one on Thursday at MRMC include both a digital rectal exam and a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test.

“I passed the digital exam with flying colors,” he said. “But then the PSA showed there was a problem. The fear of taking the surgery was worse than the surgery itself.”

Lansing Lee, director of the Martin Luther King Center, said because of a lack of health insurance, minorities don’t see a doctor on a regular basis.

“We want to make the community aware that this affects us more than other communities,” Lee said. “And we need to get the women here because our men won’t go to the doctor. Men are missing the opportunity to save their own lives.”

Dr. Jewell Daniels, a urologist in Muskogee, also is scheduled to speak.

Reach Keith Purtell at 684-2925 or kpurtell@muskogee

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