Prostate cancer behind breast cancer in funding, awareness

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when there are all kinds of promotions and events to raise awareness about the disease. But prostate cancer is nearly as deadly to men as breast cancer is to women, yet it doesn't get nearly the same attention or funding.

It's October, when you'll see pink fire trucks, football players wearing pink, even construction workers in pink hard hats, all to raise awareness about breast cancer.

September was prostate cancer month. Where were the ribbons, the fundraisers?

Bill Catcher is a Myrtle Beach radio announcer and prostate cancer survivor. "Given enough push in the media, we can make this come to the front, come to the top of the list."

Catcher says it's frustrating that more isn't being done to promote prostate cancer screening for men.

Frecia Ammons, a breast cancer survivor who works for the American Red Cross Blood Service, says it's a Mars-Venus thing. She says men need to learn about preventive maintenance. "That's what women do, by going to the doctor annually and I think we need to encourage men and educate men on how important it is for them to go just as much."

Urologist Neal Shore says women are more involved in their own health care, especially when it comes to taking part in clinical trials and research, where men are way behind. "They just don't maybe feel comfortable with it. They lack information. They don't want to be bothered by going to the doctor. Women are just great advocates for each other and for themselves."

Shore says the media plays a big role, but the medical community can get more involved, too. "It's a simple case of the squeaky wheel gets the grease," said Dr. Shore.

Breast cancer kills about 40,000 women a year while prostate cancer kills about 30,000 men. But breast cancer research gets more than twice the federal funding.

Again, women do a great job of advocacy and the guys just need to catch up.

Here you can read reporter Joel Allen's blog about his experience with prostate cancer.