Established in 1990, Us TOO International is a nonprofit focused on providing educational resources and support services to the prostate cancer community at no charge. Unlike some diseases, there’s not a well-worn path between a prostate cancer diagnosis and the best kind of treatment. There’s much to learn before a man is sufficiently educated to make informed decisions on testing, treatment options and corresponding side effects.
With September being Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (PCAM), Change Together caught up with Chuck Strand, CEO of Us TOO, about the organization’s plans for the month, how they are raising awareness around prostate cancer and the resources that Us TOO is providing to those who are battling prostate cancer.
Support, educate, advocate
One of the organization’s largest fundraisers is its annual SEA Blue Chicago Prostate Cancer Walk & Run in Lincoln Park on September 10. “With SEA being an acronym for support, educate and advocate, the event is a perfect extension of the organization’s mission,” says Strand.
“The SEA Blue event this year is sure to be another action-packed day of camaraderie that includes celebration and remembrance of prostate cancer survivors – or Warriors – and a strong show of support from their spouses/partners, family and friends from all across Chicagoland,” Strand explains. And even if a supporter can’t attend the event in person, they can still participate and fundraise as a virtual mover.
“The presence of prostate cancer Warriors at the event is powerful. We’ll acknowledge them on stage to thank them for their inspiration,” Strand notes. “They demonstrate the strength to overcome the disease and courage to ‘own’ a response to a prostate cancer diagnosis with a positive, can-do approach. They set an example for having genuine hope that’s grounded in education to make informed decisions to eliminate or control the disease and maximize the quality of life.”
Event activities also include a “Talk to the Doc” education tent; free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing; free lunch, drinks and snacks; a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers; a DJ and live music; plus the Family Fun Zone with activities for the kids.
Usually the event attracts around 1,500 people annually, although Us TOO is looking to top that this year.
On September 23, Us TOO is hosting another “Community Conversation on Prostate Cancer” in Wilmington, NC. The half-day event is one of four scheduled around the country throughout the year. “The event is focused on informed decision making and its importance in prostate cancer care, from testing to treatment options and the management of side effects.,” explains Strand.
Speakers include physicians along with prostate cancer survivors and caregivers/spouses who share their journey.
According to Strand, the event is not just an opportunity for patients to learn about prostate cancer – it’s also a perfect setting for doctors to gain more insight into the patient community.
“Physician presenters often tell us that the community conversations are a great opportunity for them to get a better gauge on concerns that are top-of-mind for more patients,” explains Strand. “Feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive too, because they are getting access to insights they may not get from their own doctors.”
“Ultimately, this year’s Us TOO events for PCAM are centered around providing hope and inspiration through information,” says Strand.
“Prostate cancer remains one of the most common diseases in our country and around the world.1 And the number of men diagnosed with the disease will increase as the baby boomer generation ages.2 It’s important to increase prostate cancer education and spur on change with greater awareness.”
To find out more about Us TOO’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month plans, visit http://www.ustoo.org/.