JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation is reaching out to prostate cancer survivors in Region 8.
The foundation hosts monthly meetings in Jonesboro for men who have survived the disease or are at different stages of diagnosis, and family members to discuss their experiences.
Jerry Jett said time stood still when his doctor told him he had prostate cancer. "It was kind of like somebody hit you over the head with a 2x4. I guarantee you it gets your attention."
Fortunately, doctors found the cancer before it spread, and about seven weeks after a prostatectomy, Jett returned to his work in real estate.
According to estimated statistics from the National Cancer Institute, 241, 740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and 28, 170 people will from the disease in the United States in 2012.
Helen Baldwin, executive director of the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation said many men in Arkansas are not as fortunate as Jett. "In Arkansas,S men are more likely to die from prostate cancer than women are from breast cancer. Men simply don't talk about it and we understand that. We women are much more open about things and we're always on a campaign about something, but the issue surrounding prostate cancer is very sensitive."
Jett attends the meetings at the UAMS Center on Aging because he agrees that attitude is everything when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. "Maybe you skin yourself and it bleeds. You get up, wipe it off, put some dirt on it. It'll quit bleeding. It's building that macho feeling from the time you're little and it just continues all the way through your life. It gets in the way of some things really."
Baldwin said the meetings are not a substitute for medical advice, but support for everyone affected by the disease. "We also support the women as well because women often get left out of the loop."
"Of course that is what this peer group is for. Giving them some comfort, letting them know that somebody else has been there."
The Northeast Arkansas PEER NETWORK meetings for prostate cancer are on the first Thursday of every month from 6-7 p.m. at the UAMS Center on Aging located at 303 East Matthews.
For more information about the meetings call 870-930-9900, click here.