DETROIT – Prostate cancer survivor Dr. Isaac Powell has treated thousands of cancer patients and has decades of research experience.
He will be 80 years old next month, and has no plans to retire. He’s working on finding a drug that will fight the genes responsible for a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, particularly in Black men. There are challenges to make that happen.
Powell is one of the few, if not only, doctors in the country with his amount of research and focus on the disease as it relates to Black men.
When it comes to prostate cancer in Black men, the numbers are staggering. There are many contributing factors. Powell said Black men are more likely not to be screened. There’s also the fear of the diagnosis of prostate cancer, to many men the diagnosis is considered a death sentence.
Powell and a team of researchers have identified a profile of genes responsible for a more aggressive prostate cancer. It’s more expressed among Black men.
The next step in the research is to develop a drug to inhibit those more aggressive genes. Funding has been a challenge.
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TODAY’s Al Roker reveals prostate cancer diagnosis
Longtime TODAY Show meteorologist Al Roker announced last week that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed.
Roker said he wanted to publicly reveal his diagnosis to spotlight the fact that 1 in 7 African American men, 1 in 9 men overall, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.