Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. black men have the highest incidence of the disease, but in many cases don't receive treatment until it's too late. Health Reporter Erin Billups has the story of one well-known athlete who hopes to encourage others like him to get checked out.
Former heavyweight boxer Renaldo "Mister" Snipes, as he was called, never expected cancer to land a blow, but it did.
"I've never had cancer before, you think that you know, everybody else can get cancer, you never think you'll get cancer, I mean, you would never think that this would be happening to you, I mean, me. Former athlete, this, that, you know," says Snipes.
But it was clear something was going on in his body.
"The pain started coming while you're urinating, and I said, we better go get this checked," recalls Snipes.
And while the star athlete readily squared up against other heavyweight hitters, tackling health problems as a black man - acutely aware of past discriminatory practices - made getting care a struggle for him.
"I wasn't about to be nobody's guinea pig," says Snipes.
But after being told he had abnormally high prostate specific antigen, or PSA levels, Snipes knew he had to do something and through a friend found Dr. Deepak Kapoor, president of Advanced Urology Centers of New York and the Clinical Associate Professor of Urology at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Kapoor discovered Snipes had an aggressive form of prostate cancer and eventually treated Snipes with targeted radiation therapy.
But he says if Snipes' PSA levels weren't tested, he probably would have died.
"The only, only tool that we have, to detect prostate cancer in its earliest, most treatable form, is the PSA blood test. Now, I'll be the last one to tell you that the PSA is a perfect test. It's not," says Dr. Kapoor.
The PSA test is not recognized as a useful one by the federal government. But Mr. Snipes says in his case it was essential as he is now cancer free.
He encourages other men - especially black men who are more likely to die of prostate cancer because they don't seek treatment earlier - to get checked out.
"The risk is very high of minorities coming down with this prostate cancer, I don't know if it's from the food, I don't know. My word of advice is always, for all minority men, men period, to go and get an exam for your prostate, because you never know," says Snipes.