Prostate Cancer Awareness in Florida

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Prostate cancer awareness month had a very special impact in Florida. Once again, NBC stepped up to the plate in southwest Florida, producing not just one, but two separate news features dealing with prostate cancer. Credit should be given to the joint efforts of Jan Manarite, the PCRI’s Florida Educational Facilitator, and Lauren Stillwell, Assistant News Director of Waterman Broadcasting, the NBC affiliate in southwest Florida.

The first news story highlighted the need for men to start PSA testing and screening for prostate cancer at a younger age than currently recommended. NBC anchor Todd Jurkowski decided to go through his first PSA test and DRE at age 34. Jurkowski walked viewers through parts of the process, challenging other young men to do the same. The question was raised, “If early detection is the key, then when is it too early to get a baseline marker, especially for cancer?” Other important points were the importance of monitoring your PSA over time and noting its behavior, and making sure to ask your physician for a PSA at your yearly check-ups. Perhaps the most significant part of the news piece was an interview with a local cancer physician who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 48, two years before the current screening guidelines would have even suggested that he get a PSA. The PCRI hopes this story will encourage more men to consider and pursue their personal screening for prostate cancer long before age 50.

The second NBC news story covered the value of color Doppler ultrasound in finding cancer in the prostate gland. The story dealt with a local retired attorney who had consistently elevated PSA blood tests despite a 10-year history of negative biopsies. Even though his biopsies had always been negative, he still wondered why his PSA continued to be elevated. Was there cancer that may have been missed? After a call to the PCRI Helpline in Florida, John Sheppard learned that there was a different technology, color Doppler ultrasound, available to help resolve his situation When John was examined by Dr. Michael Dattoli using color Doppler ultrasound equipment, he clearly saw an abnormality.“ The difference was like night and day,” John recalled.“ I saw it for myself.” The cancer was diagnosed at last, and John finally received the treatment he clearly needed. An interview with Dr. Dattoli was included in this newscast, and he demonstrated the value of color Doppler ultrasound. The PCRI hopes this story will inspire others to call our helpline in search of new technology and additional answers for men in similar situations.

Both news stories can be found by searching the Health Homepage at NBC’s website, For further information, contact Jan Manarite at the PCRI Florida Helpline at (239) 395-0995.

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