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Professional Football Takes the Field to Tackle Prostate Cancer

Teams challenge men to get screened for each point scored

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Football fans are known for going to great lengths to show support for their favorite team -- camping out for tickets, sitting in stadiums in freezing temperatures, traveling great distances for the big game. Now five football teams are showing their support for their fans' health by raising awareness of a deadly disease -- prostate cancer.

The Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings have partnered with the Prostate Cancer Education Council (PCEC) to issue a challenge: For every point scored by those teams during Week 9 through Week 17 of this season, the teams are asking 25 men to visit their physician and get screened for prostate cancer.

Screenings include a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) done by a trained professional.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and prostate cancer survivor Robin Cole is serving as the "coach" of this effort. "This is a terrible disease, made all the more terrible when you realize that it's easy to screen for and, if caught early, very treatable. But we're still losing thousands of men each year. We want that to stop."

The campaign kicks off this Sunday, Nov. 4, at Ford Field in Detroit when two of the participating teams -- the Detroit Lions and the Denver Broncos -- face off and start scoring points for the effort. Depending on the final score, the teams are hoping as many as 1,000 or more men will make appointments with their physicians to get checked.

"A doctor's appointment is easy," said Cole. "It doesn't take much time out of your day -- and could save your life."

"We're so happy to be partnering with these football teams on this very important effort," said E. David Crawford, M.D., chairman of PCEC. "Many football fans are men over 40, and that's exactly who needs to get checked for prostate cancer each year. We're hoping for high-scoring games that drive many men to be screened. This is a disease we can and should tackle."

Men who respond to the challenge should visit to register and receive exclusive access to program information and a chance to win tickets to a NFL game.

About Prostate Cancer

Although rates of death from prostate cancer have declined recently, the disease remains the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men. More than 218,890 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and it is expected that 27,050 men will die from the disease. With more annual cases of prostate cancer than that of breast cancer among women, screening is imperative to ensure the health of the men of our nation.

Yet prostate cancer is nearly highly treatable when detected early. PCEC recommends yearly screening for men 35 and older if they fall into one of the high-risk categories, including African-Americans, who are at a higher risk than Caucasians, or men who have a family history of the disease. All men over 40 should be checked yearly.

About the Prostate Cancer Education Council

The Prostate Cancer Education Council (PCEC) was founded in 1988 and coordinates the national Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (PCAW) program, held this year in September. PCAW was created by the PCEC as a means to offer free or low-cost prostate cancer screenings across the nation (12 in Colorado, more than 500 nationwide). PCEC and the PCAW event strive to educate men and the women in their lives about the prevalence of prostate cancer, the importance of early detection and the available treatment options. In addition to coordinating PCAW, PCEC works with a number of NFL teams and player spokesmen in the Tackle Prostate Cancer campaign, dedicating a number of games throughout the season to prostate cancer awareness. As one of the oldest and largest organized screening efforts in the nation, PCAW has helped millions of men receive potentially life-saving screenings in addition to influencing additional research dollars to be earmarked for prostate cancer.

TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Lake Forest, Ill., provided financial support to PCEC for this program.

SOURCE Prostate Cancer Education Council
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