The COVID-19 pandemic created a detour for some people when it came to getting regular cancer screenings, but now it’s time to get back to the main road of health.
The 11th Annual Cruisin’ for a Cure Buffalo-Niagara, set for Saturday, September 24 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the campus of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the on-ramp to get back on that road.
Nicknamed the “car show that saves lives,” the event combines a day-long car, truck and motorcycle show with access to free prostate cancer early detection tests courtesy of Roswell Park.
“Car clubs have been very supportive of the event, with some members taking advantage of the free prostate check. We have the OGs out of Niagara Falls; Roc-Hard-Vette Club from Rochester; Drifters Car Club and The Old Cranks Car Club. We’ll also have support from the Eastside Classics of East Buffalo and the Southern Tier Auto Buffs (STAB),” says Richard Satterwhite, a Patient Engagement Specialist at Roswell Park. He’s also a co-founder of Men Allied for the Need to Understand Prostate Cancer (MANUP) Buffalo, Inc., an educational outreach group that talks with men and their partners about the importance of regular health checkups and routine early detection tests, including for prostate cancer.
Satterwhite also is a prostate cancer survivor, diagnosed at age 44 with an aggressive case. He knows firsthand the importance of early detection and regular screenings.
“Most of the time, guys will ignore symptoms, if there are any,” he says. “I had symptoms, ED and difficulty emptying my bladder, which are common indicators that something’s wrong. I spoke with my doctor immediately and got in for a blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE) and they found something which proved to be cancer. In most cases, it’s a slow-growing cancer, but sometimes it doesn’t present with symptoms. Regular check-ups are important. Going to see your doctor regularly is something we all should do.”
Know your risk
It is recommended that people assigned male at birth who have a higher risk for the disease (such as those with a family history of prostate cancer), are African American, or who have a known genetic mutation, begin their annual testing at age 40; all others should begin their routine prostate cancer early detection testing at age 45.
People of color, including Black men and those of Hispanic/Latinx background, have a higher risk not only of developing prostate cancer, but of having a more aggressive case of the disease. “There’s no real understanding as to why prostate cancer occurs. For some reason, anyone with high amounts of melanin in their system are disproportionally affected,” Satterwhite says.
The car show that saves lives
Learn more about the 11th Annual Cruisin' for a Cure and sign up today!
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men 40 and older. Black men are 1.6 times more likely than other men to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from the disease. It’s also the most-diagnosed cancer in Hispanic men. However, when caught early, prostate cancer can be cured more than 90% of the time.
There’s also a hesitancy among men to have prostate cancer exams, so combining a car show, food trucks, vendors, music and a family outing with the ability to be examined by a Roswell Park expert, for free, might be the incentive some need, he says.
Focus on health and family alike
The car show runs all day and the clinic will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with specialists meeting patients inside Roswell Park’s main hospital. The goal is to have 150 men make appointments, but walk-ins will be accepted as well.
“We won’t turn anyone away,” Satterwhite says. “The doctors are really efficient in what they do. Everyone who comes will see one of our urologists and it’ll be over before you realize it.”
Cars will be on display on Elm, Carlton and Oak streets, with other vehicles inside Kaminski Park as well. In the case of inclement weather, the show will move inside the main parking garage on Carlton Street.
“Joe Roxbury will be bringing ‘KITT’ from Knight Rider, that’s always a fan favorite,” Satterwhite says. “DJ Ray Heron and his STAB Records will be here; he’s been doing our show for all 11 years. We’ll also have the Western New York Superhero Alliance and Kim Cich and her Pinups for a Cause. They support a lot of car shows and many of them are cancer survivors themselves.”
The car show, food trucks – including Dirty Bird Chicken ‘n Waffles and The Great Foodini – and the atmosphere make Cruisin’ for a Cure a family-friendly event, but the goal is to help men take control of their health.
“When prostate cancer is caught early, it’s a treatable disease. Whether you think you have cancer or not, the only person who can tell you is your doctor,” Satterwhite says. “You think about what women go through with their annual exams. They’re used to it. I think men should consider what women go through. They have no excuse not to get their prostate check.”
More information on this year’s event, including a link to register, can be found here.