Florida's prostate team

Florida’s prostate team

UF Prostate Disease Center leads charge for new state prostate disease program

By April Frawley Birdwell

Thomas Crawford and Dr. Johannes Vieweg/Photo by Jesse S. Jones

In Florida, one in four men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer — more than the national average — and black men are nearly three times more likely than white men to die from the disease, according to experts from the University of Florida department of urology and Prostate Disease Center.

But new legislation that took effect in July aims to change these statistics with the establishment of a state of Florida Prostate Cancer Awareness Program, coordinated through the UF Prostate Disease Center. The program will bring together experts and leaders from across the state to tackle prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the state, according to the Department of Health.

“Prostate cancer is a complex disease requiring a multidisciplinary approach,” said Johannes Vieweg, M.D., executive director of the UF Prostate Disease Center, who led the efforts to get the bill passed and establish the program. “It is a hidden disease no one wants to talk about. This is the No. 1 cancer in men throughout the nation, and our efforts will impact not only Floridians, but patients in adjacent states as well. This bill holds great potential to develop a national precedent for how prostate cancer care, education and research will be conducted in this country.”

Vieweg rallied UF leaders and began lobbying for a bill to establish the statewide program. Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law on May 31 and it took effect July 1. David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands health system, and Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine, support the program’s ambitious goals.

“This program will bring the expertise and resources from the UF Prostate Disease Center together with key experts and advocates from across the state,” Good said. “Collaborations like these are crucial to making significant progress in the fight against prostate disease.”

As part of this new program, Vieweg established a Prostate Cancer Advisory Council, which includes partners from the Mayo Clinic, the American Cancer Society and the University of Miami. Physicians, researchers, advocates, survivors and other prostate disease and cancer leaders comprise the group, which will hold its inaugural meeting in September in Orlando.

The council’s initial goals will be to develop both an action plan to improve prostate cancer awareness, outreach, education and care for Florida, and build a list of recommendations for the Legislature.

“This is part of our mission,” Vieweg said. “It is good for patients, and it is of great benefit to the state.”

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month events

The 2011 Men’s Health & Manpower Expo

When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sept. 24, Greater Bethel AME Church, 701 SE 43rd St., Gainesville, Fla.

What: Organized by the UF Prostate Disease Center and the Greater Bethel AME Church, this event features free food, gifts, job information, educational workshops and screenings. To register call (352) 294-5340.


Alachua County Prostate Cancer Advocacy Program (PCAP) Basic ReTooling Training Program

When: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sept. 24, Greater Bethel AME Church, 701 SE 43rd St., Gainesville, Fla.

What: Are you interested in fighting prostate cancer in your community?

Are you interested in becoming a prostate cancer educator and advocate?

If you are a prostate cancer survivor or the spouse/caregiver of a prostate cancer survivor, team up against prostate cancer by registering for PCAP Basic Training Program. To register call (352) 294-5340.