BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When Richard Satterwhite was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, he didn't know much about the disease.
"I had some health concerns which I went to see my doctor about and he told me that he wasn't sure, but he was going to give me a PSA test," said Satterwhite. "Which stands for Prostate Specific Antigen. I didn't know anything I thought it meant Public Service Announcement. And I said well okay, I'll watch the commercial I don't know if it's going to do any good but let's go. I actually said that, so that started my journey.
He was 44 years old at the time. But since then, he said it's been his mission to raise awareness about it, and make sure men are focusing on their health.
In his case the cancer was caught early and surgically removed at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Satterwhite works there as a Patient Engagement Specialist, and is the co-founder of MANUP, or Men Allied for the Need to Understand Prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 191,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and about 33,000 will die from it. Early detection is critical for prognosis and survival.
And prostate cancer is more devastating in the African American community.
"We have found in different studies that it is high risk and high grade in African American men. So they have to be more cautious and careful," said Dr. Khurshid Guru, Chair of Urology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Guru said experiencing symptoms means you're late in the game. All men should start screening at age 50, and at 45 if you're at a higher risk.
Surgery and radiation aren't the only treatment options.
"If it's detected early on and the disease is in that form or shape where we can just do active surveillance. Which means we can observe it," said Dr. Guru.
There are clinical trials you can participate in if none of those treatment options work.