AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– September is National Prostate Cancer month, a time to raise awareness about prostate cancer and generate support for patients. At the Georgia Cancer Center, a $1.1 million grant will help with a research project linking prostate cancer to cardiovascular disease. It’s from the Department of Defense.

Dr. Avi Guha is one of the doctors involved with the study. He’s here today along with Dr. Oliver Page, who you probably recognize as the deputy director of Augusta Transit. We’ve seen him many times in sound bite form on our newscast. Dr. Page and Dr. Guha, thank you for your time today.

Dr. Page, as a prostate cancer patient, what has it meant for you to be a part of the local Zero Cancer prostate support group, Us Too?

“To hear from other men who’ve had similar treatment to mine and the outcomes, the men are very frank and open about their treatment.
So, it’s a place to go and learn and also to listen. And one of the benefits of going to the support group is that the men can bring their wives,
their caregivers, their partners, because it’s often the partners that get men to have their PSA tests done, often the partners who may notice a change in behavior in their significant other that they start asking questions and then that guy goes to the doctor and that starts their prostate cancer journey.”

Dr. Page says the support group can be especially helpful for men who are recently diagnosed and deciding on treatment.

“Not all the prostate cancer treatments are offered here in Augusta, but most are offered in the state of Georgia. And unless you do your research, unless you meet other guys who’ve had different treatments, sometimes you may not make the right decision… so, coming to the support group, you can speak to men who’ve had different treatments and have different outcomes because there are significant outcomes, quality of life outcomes from different types of treatment for prostate cancer.”

Dr. Guha thinks the support group definitely fills a gap.

“So, I’m a cardio oncologist. I see cancer patients who have heart disease or at risk of heart disease. So I get like this unique perspective because my research is focused on prostate cancer, but I get to sort of see a different aspect of prostate cancer. Having said that, I attended
one of the support groups, and we were scheduled to speak for one hour. I think we spoke for 2.5 hours. And it was so interesting because to talk about the heart to patients with prostate cancer is probably novel and new to them for the first time. So, I loved the support group. Oliver gave us these cards and I hand it out when I see prostate cancer patients.”

“One thing I’ve learned from attending some of the workshops that are offered by Zero Cancer, the support system is very important. And many men have made prostate cancer decisions either going forward for treatment or hoping that treatment — their disease will go away without the support of their network. You don’t have to do this journey by yourself.”

The Zero Prostate Cancer Us Too support group in Augusta meets every third Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. It’s free and open to patients and their support system. Meetings are at the outpatient services building at Georgia Cancer Center. That’s located at 1411 Laney Walker Boulevard. For more information, call 706-305-4810. The next meeting is September 19th.

And remember, early detection saves lives. Pay attention to screening guidelines. For most men, your PSA testing should start at age 55.

Our local Us Too support group is part of the national group, Zero Cancer. Click here for more information.

Click this link and follow the thread to Dr. Guha’s research and explanation of the troubling statistic that Augusta has a higher prostate cancer mortality rate than the country of Zimbabwe.