50 Hoops tips off the fight against prostate cancer

How 50 Hoops uses an annual basketball tournament to educate underserved communities about prostate cancer screenings and treatment options.

Ed Sanders knew he needed to have his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels checked. After multiple nudges and reminders from his wife, Pat, he finally scheduled the appointment. A week later a nurse called him to “come in and talk about his cancer.” That is how Ed learned of his diagnosis. It was his experiences from that point on, from learning about prostate cancer, to being diagnosed, treated, and now a survivor, that drove Ed to share his story and eventually with Pat by his side, the two started 50 Hoops- an organization educating and raising awareness about prostate cancer in underserved communities.

A man of African descent is 73% more likely to develop prostate cancer than a Caucasian man, and more than twice as likely to die from the disease due to lack of information or resources. Because of that staggering statistic 50 Hoops focuses on prostate cancer in men, but  the organization also provides education on breast cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. They do this by bridging the gap between doctors and patients- creating a dialogue and safe space to openly discuss diagnosis and treatment options. During their flagship event, a basketball tournament and health fair, 50 Hoops provides free screenings, and lectures on hereditary prostate cancer, clinical trial participation, and treatment options.

50 Hoops is more than a basketball tournament it is a community

People who are a part of the 50 hoops community become involved at different stages and the organization has ways for everyone to play a part. Involvement ranges anywhere from participating in the basketball tournament or being a part of a support group to leading and educating. Through strategic partnerships with major cancer treatment centers, corporations, and community-based organizations as well as support from physicians and radiation oncologists all over the country, 50 Hoops has influenced the lives of over 250,000 men. No matter the stage, each man and their family has much to gain from the resources provided by the organization.

The team is always boots on the ground educating and empowering men to become aware of their health. “My barber admitted he had no knowledge of prostate cancer, so I told him my story. In turn, he was screened and found out he had prostate cancer,” says Ed. “He was diagnosed early, thankfully- 18 years later still says to me that ‘because of 50 Hoops I am now cancer free.’

“There are also devastating stories of men who fail to get screenings and are too far along for treatment. One man that we met had never gotten his PSA level checked or a rectal exam. We urged him to have a screening. Keep in mind, if a man has a PSA over 5 or 6 it is considered elevated. This particular man’s PSA was 450. He was in the latest stages of prostate cancer and had no idea.”

“Underserved communities are the less likely to be educated on their risk for disease or what to do if they have been diagnosed,” says Pat. “These days, people often take to the internet to learn more once they have been diagnosed with a particular disease, but so many of the low income african american men we have met who are just learning that their PSA levels are high don’t have access to the internet as a resource.

At 50 Hoops we work our hardest to schedule them time with physicians who are willing to help educate, plug them into groups with other men dealing with the same diagnosis, and also refer them to some of our partner organizations such as North Texas Prostate Cancer Coalition, and Man to Man.”

Advice from Ed and Pat to patients who want to know more once they have been diagnosed

“Learn everything you can about prostate cancer once you have been diagnosed,” says Ed. “Find an organization or community that can help you stay strong, give back to that community and tell your story- you never know who you could influence to get an exam.”

“Make sure you are staying on top of your own health as well,” says Pat. Schedule your PSA screenings regularly to check your level. Your prostate and overall health needs to be a part of your daily routine.”

Isoray is proud to support 50 Hoops and their mission to educate all people about prostate cancer and treatment options.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and want to know about all of your available treatment options, including brachytherapy, please contact patienteducation@isoray.com. If you are a physician and would like to know more about Cesium’s ability to improve patient outcomes, email customerservice@isoray.com.

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