Thomas Farrington, founder of the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN)
(BlackNew.com) — With twelve symposiums in nine states completed from April through June, and another 13 scheduled through November, the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) is taking its educational efforts to greater heights. The Fifth Annual Symposia is a series of partnerships between churches and PHEN throughout the country. “The symposiums are a cornerstone of our efforts to increase knowledge and awareness for black men who have the highest prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates of all men in the United States,” says Thomas A. Farrington, PHEN president and founder.
The symposiums are structured for healthy men at high risk for prostate cancer, prostate cancer survivors, caregivers, and family members. Educational topics include: screening and early detection, treatment options, managing treatment side effects, advanced prostate cancer, and the importance of faith when facing cancer, each symposium is free and open to the public and includes breakfast or lunch.
Feedback from attendees has been overwhelming positive. Ninety (90) percent of those who completed the symposium evaluation form said they were satisfied with the program topics, the physician faculty and the survivor and caregiver speakers who served as panelists.
For the 2017 symposiums, PHEN includes a clinical trials educational segment to address the need to increase African American participation in prostate cancer clinical trials, and it is making a big impact. 94% of attendees completing evaluations said they better understood clinical trials following the presentation; 84 percent developed a better understanding of the potential benefits and risks; and 62% indicated that they would now consider participating in a clinical trial.
The symposiums gathering of physicians, survivors, the well-informed, the casually curious and those desperately seeking answers made for a rich exchange of knowledge, experience and feelings. For me, a powerful highlight was the candid witness of the survivors and their spouses, said Rev. Ellis I. Washington, Pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Cambridge, MA.