?To win the war on prostate cancer, we must have a congressional front,? exclaimed Thomas Farrington, President and Founder of PHEN, during the summit's opening ceremonies. Congressmen James E. Clayburn (D-SC), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Melvin L. Watt (D-NC) were present to respond to this call to action. They all spoke a common theme ? tackling prostate cancer disparity tenaciously and without ceasing.
Democratic Caucus Chair, Congressman James E. Clayburn represents a district in South Carolina "that if it were extracted from the rest of the state, would be leading not just the nation, but the free world in the per capita presence of prostate cancer." Bothered by these statistics the congressman set out on a mission to learn why. ?All the research that we have done indicates that the greatest contributor to these (ominous) statistics in my congressional district is because of environmental issues.?, explains Clayburn. When all the water was tested along the I-95 corridor it was found not fit for human consumption. "Our people have virtually been poisoned. I do know that if we are going to cure this problem, we have to begin looking at the environmental conditions. When I come back to speak with you next year, we will have in place the mechanism to put a further attack on prostate cancer.?
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) took the podium and proclaimed, ?Ground zero for domestic policy is right here today?. He focused on how to go from rhetoric to results in overcoming the disparities associated with prostate cancer. Butterfield represents "the 15th poorest district in the nation, a district with a rich history but challenging problems." According to Butterfield, gaining results is about getting the information to the right population. The most prolific way to do that in the African American community is through the church. In his district alone there are 1,000 churches. ?Reach out to your churches and challenge them to get every man tested for prostate cancer and regular health check ups. And then challenge those men to push their friends and family to get tested..? Butterfield also urged participants to get their local governments involved.
As Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Congressman Melvin L. Watt (D-NC) addressed the summit attendees, he acknowledged that the country is not only dealing with a prostate cancer disparity but also disparities in justice, health and social security. ?Prostate cancer is a deadly issue for us and what we need is a national strategy.? announced Watt. ?It is not only an African American agenda; it is an American agenda, since we are all trying to move toward equality according to the constitution.?