One in six black men will develop prostate cancer during their lives, and nearly 30,000 American males of all races die from the disease every year, according to You Are Enough, a company that provides empowerment workshops.
Author, speaker and entrepreneur Harold Leffall was 47 his doctor diagnosed him with prostate cancer in 2015 after Leffall took a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
He had the test because he told his doctor his father had prostate cancer. Later, Leffall discovered that he was mistaken — his father had an enlarged prostate, not prostate cancer. This mistake may have saved Leffall’s life, because men without a family history of prostate cancer aren’t usually tested for PSA until they are 50.
Leffall was in great shape when he got the news about the cancer and lived a healthy lifestyle, exercising at least five days a week.
“I never thought I would hear the words: You have cancer,” Leffall said, according to a news release.
Because his prostate cancer was caught early, he decided to undergo seed implantation, a method also known as brachytherapy — in which more than 100 tiny radioactive seeds made of titanium and containing a small amount of either palladium or iodine are implanted in the prostate. These seeds emit an intense amount of low-dose radiation to kill the cancer in the prostate, and only minimal radiation outside the prostate to other areas, such as the bladder and rectum.
Two years after his treatment, Leffall still has some of the side effects from the radiation, but he is cancer-free.
Leffall decided to use that experience to start You Are Enough, a company that offers educational resources to help people undergoing life challenges to get through them successfully.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black men are more likely than any other ethnic group to die of prostate cancer.