Editorials

We Have To Live And We Have To Protect Our Lives

By Richard B. Muhammad - Editor | Last updated: Aug 1, 2017 - 10:39:49 AM

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(L) Min. Farrakhan plants a kiss on the forehead of Final Call editor Richard B. Muhammad before he heads in for prostate cancer surgery. (R) Daughter Kopano Muhammad and me.

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(L) Sons Karabo and Kabelo Muhammad, sister Patricia Pace and my daughter Kamohelo. (R) Grandson Jameer, son Emmanuel Ali and me after surgery.

Black men, we don’t have to die from prostate cancer.

But too many of us are dying.

I am one of the blessed ones. I underwent prostate cancer surgery recently and am now at home on the mend. I was blessed to have my awareness of this disease raised when the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan went through his bout of prostate cancer. So, his suffering is helping me.

His openness led to my awareness, my asking questions and getting the proper exams as I tried to monitor myself. As Muslims we are taught to ask questions and learn all about yourself. Through the process of inquiry and discovery, we uncover information that is enlightening and we put that information to work in our lives.

Information is truly power.

I was deeply, deeply blessed to have our dear Minister walk with me every step on this journey I have started. He has cared for me and made sure I was cared for.  I thank Allah, His Messenger Messiah and Min. Farrakhan for his boundless love and support.

The support also came from my family, my children, friends, supporters and the Believers in the Nation of Islam. I have been overwhelmed by the love, sincere service and advice I have received. It would be unbelievable if it were not true. Members of my staff have been right there with me, alongside top members in the leadership of our Nation and the Minister’s personal staff have been there—despite their own challenging responsibilities and even their own health issues. The Believers have been wonderful with encouragement, prayers and one brother even sent me a case of special water.  My sister, Patricia Pace, came to Chicago and took care of me. A longtime family friend, Terry Johnson-Bey, did the same. Others took me to doctors’ appointments, came to the hospital for the surgery and visited me when I came out.  Some have turned into true friends, instead of Facebook social media friends. That’s love. That’s concern. That’s Islam.

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Min Farrakhan, my sister and me.

I am doing very well and am in almost no pain. There is a little soreness and discomfort and some new challenges but my spirit and support system is great. I feel like a new man already and when the time comes I hope to be back stronger and better.

At this time, I am diligently obeying my Minister and my doctor’s orders and striving to be in complete obedience to those who are looking out for my well-being. I had a great surgeon and urologist, a Black man, who cared for me.  He believes all the cancer was removed and we will do some testing to confirm his highly qualified belief.

I can move around pretty good and visited Mosque Maryam for a Sunday meeting and stayed for a little while. It was inspiring. There is no God but Allah who Appeared to Us in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi, and His mercy and power are boundless.

But it is the duty of every creature to care for itself and we are losing Black men to this disease because we don’t know, we don’t ask and we may not know if we should ask.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime in 2017 which accounts for 26,730 deaths. Affecting those aged between 40 and 66, the cancer begins when the cells in the prostate gland grow uncontrollably. Types of cancer include sarcomas, small cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors and transitional cell carcinomas.

“Compared with white men, African-American men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer in their early 50s and twice as likely to die of the disease. They are also more likely to be in an advanced stage of the disease when diagnosed. Recent findings released at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting also showed that Black men also appear to be more likely to develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer,” reported prostate.net.

Risk factors include diets high in red meat or high-fat dairy products, obesity, smoking; chemical exposures such as to Agent Orange, untreated sexually transmitted infections, inherited gene changes.

The American Cancer Society and other cancer research groups suggest the following to help lower risks of developing the cancer:

  • · Maintaining a healthy weight
  • · Staying physically active
  • · Maintaining a healthier diet
  • · Taking vitamin and mineral supplements

Early detection of the disease is very crucial. The Prostate Cancer Foundation strongly recommends regular screening especially for older men. Prostate-specific antigen screening was reported to increase the number of prostate cancer cases diagnosed each year in the United States. This type of screening can be taken by any man at any age.

Current major treatment includes observation, active surveillance (which is careful monitoring of any disease progression), surgery and radiation. Non-standard options include cryotherapy (extreme cold therapy used to destroy abnormal skill cells), high-intensity focused ultrasound and primary Hormone therapy, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

So, my brothers get the information and act on it. Reach out to me, if you want to dialogue about this. Many in our Nation have suffered from this scourge. Sisters, push the men in your life to see their doctors and get the appropriate screenings and treatment.

Let’s not lose another Black man when we can prevent it.

We have to live.

—Richard B. Muhammad, editor, The Final Call newspaper

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