Sounding Alarm About Disease
In Charles County, Where Men Are Dying From Prostate Cancer At Startling Rates, a Campaign Aims to Educate Those At Risk

By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 27, 2008; C01

The preacher’s words took flight in a small Pentecostal sanctuary in Southern Maryland, where men are dying needlessly of a treatable disease.

“Your body is special to God!” Bishop James M. Briscoe declaimed to 45 Sunday worshipers in the pews above the weathered linoleum floor of Free Gospel Church of Bryans Road. “God has not designed this thing for you to die prematurely! Some of you would rather not go to doctors. They would rather be in the darkness about their health. But the scripture doesn’t say that.”

So began a public health campaign to educate, examine and treat the men of Charles County as prostate cancer becomes a disease that is striking and killing them at an alarming rate.

Men, black and white, in Southern Maryland’s largest county have the highest prostate cancer diagnosis and death rates in the state, and significantly above the national average. Local rates are climbing even as cases level off nationwide.

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