Dr. Joel Anderson, chancellor emeritus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was highlighted as the 2018 honoree of the Blue Ribbon Bash for the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The annual fundraiser is the signature event of the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation and was held Sept. 6 at Chenal Country Club, sponsored by Arkansas Urology. It is held in September to highlight National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Former U.S. Rep Mike Ross, a UA Little Rock alumnus, and his wife, Holly, co-chaired the event.
Anderson, who retired as chancellor of UA Little Rock in 2016, is a prostate cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2013.
“It was a heavy moment to hear that news and to know that, now, my name and cancer went together,” Anderson said. “Once you have that diagnosis, you remember friends and relatives who died from prostate cancer. You absorb the fact that it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men. After the diagnosis, you find yourself in a sea of uncertainty, and fear is the twin of uncertainty.”
Anderson thanked the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation for making a difference in the fight against prostate cancer. Last year, the foundation conducted around 2,500 prostate cancer screenings in Arkansas.
“Once you recover and become a cancer survivor, you think about all the men who had prostate cancer 75 years ago and back of that,” he said. “Back then, PSA tests, radiation, robotic surgery, and chemotherapy were not options for them. For them, prostate cancer was a silent, asymptomatic disease until it reached a painful, terminal stage. Today, there are powerful tools for treating prostate cancer. But you can’t get treatment if you don’t know you’ve got it. All of us prostate cancer survivors in this room know that those 2,500 screenings are saving lives, informing a number of them that their screening produced information that needs additional evaluation, that they should get in to see their doctor.”
Bill Johnson, director of development and media relations for the Arkansas Prostate Foundation, said the event raised $150,000, which will benefit the foundation’s education and advocacy programs and fund free cancer screenings across the state.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Arkansas men.The American Cancer Society estimates that 1,260 men in Arkansas will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and 280 Arkansas men are expected to die from it this year. Of these, more than two times as many black men will die as white men.
The prostate cancer check is a simple blood test, according to Johnson. However, typical blood tests do not include testing for prostate cancer. That test must be requested.