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Prostate Cancer Advocates Honored by Karmanos Cancer Institute

Keynote Speaker Robert Ginyard is joined by award recipient Manny Rosenbaum, Dr. Elisabeth Heath, and award recipient Dr. Isaac Powell. 


Nearly 200 people attended Karmanos Cancer Institute’s Sept. 28th Prostate Cancer Symposium. This was the third annual symposium that Karmanos collaborated with Wayne State University School of Medicine to promote prostate health. 

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute honored two outstanding prostate cancer awareness advocates at its third annual Prostate Cancer Symposium, What Happens After Diagnosis?, held Saturday, Sept. 28. Nearly 200 people attended Karmanos’ free symposium, which was held in collaboration with Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM) and focused on survivorship – what happens after a cancer diagnosis and how patients and their loved ones deal with the physical, mental and emotional aspects of survivorship.

During the symposium, Karmanos Cancer Institute presented its inaugural Isaac J. Powell, M.D., Prostate Pioneer Achievement Award.  The award recognizes a physician, community volunteer and/or prostate cancer advocate who continues to demonstrates outstanding leadership, commitment and compassion in their service to prostate cancer survivors while raising awareness of prostate health within the community.

Receiving the inaugural award was Isaac J. Powell, M.D., of Detroit, professor, Department of Urology, Karmanos Cancer Institute and WSU SOM. A tireless advocate who has dedicated his career caring for patients and educating others about prostate cancer prevention, as well as helping to eliminate cancer disparities within the African American community, and for whom this award is named after.

Dr. Powell is a surgical oncologist who moved to Detroit with his wife Sandra and their family 1969. He was in private practice for 11 years before joining the Karmanos/WSU SOM team in 1986. Dr. Powell shows no signs of slowing down. A 16-year prostate cancer survivor himself, his passion to educate men about prostate cancer, as well as encourage early detection, is fueled by his excitement about the advancements in prostate cancer screening and treatment; and his quest to help improve the survival outcomes for those at high risk of the disease, including African American men often diagnosed with advanced stage prostate cancer.

His commitment to prostate cancer research focused on disparities, comparing the biological and genetic differences among certain ethnic groups, has attracted the attention of researchers across the globe. His work has affected how other doctors around the world approach prostate cancer research and their interactions with prostate cancer patients to ensure better outcomes.

Dr. Powell has seen significant improvement since the PSA test (Prostate-Specific Antigen) became available in the late 1980’s. The PSA is a blood test that measures the level of protein produced by the prostate gland. 

“Prior to the PSA test, 50 to 60 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer had metastatic disease. Now, it’s less than 10 percent,” said Dr. Powell.

There have also been new treatments in the last two years, such as ZYTIGA® (abiraterone acetate) and XTANDI (enzalutamide), which are biological targeted treatments that block pathways to help prevent the prostate cancer from spreading. There have also been improvements to surgery with nerve-sparing procedure to preserve sexual function.

“There are different opinions as to when men should start screening for prostate cancer. This has caused some confusion and men need to be aware, be proactive and discuss with their physician what’s best for them,” added Dr. Powell.

He recommends that men start having PSA screenings at age 50 if they are not considered high risk – don’t have a family history of the disease or are not African American. He also suggests that men who are at higher risk start screening at age 40, which includes African American men who are often detected with advanced stage disease because prostate cancer tends to grow faster in African American men.  Men need to discuss with their physician what’s right for them based on their health and risk factors.

Dr. Powell added, “It’s important to educate yourself, know your family history and be an advocate for your own health. Early detection saves lives!”

Manuel (Manny) Rosenbaum, of Oak Park, also received the inaugural Isaac J. Powell, M.D., Prostate Pioneer Achievement Award.  Rosenbaum recently celebrated his 84th birthday and will soon commemorate his 58th wedding anniversary with his wife Regine, lovingly referred to as Reggie. A prostate cancer survivor and longtime volunteer prostate health educator, Rosenbaum has selflessly given of his time communicating the importance of prostate screenings and cancer prevention, sharing his story and upbeat attitude to help others. 

He uses his first-hand experience to communicate the prostate health message. In 2004, Rosenbaum was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer and was treated at Karmanos Cancer Institute’s Weisberg Treatment Center in Farmington Hills. He knew prior to his diagnosis that he would be at higher risk of prostate cancer since his brother Irving had passed away from the disease in 2000. Rosenbaum was screened regularly and attributes his survival of prostate cancer to early detection.

“The PSA test is not to be ignored and it’s important to also get the rectal exam,” said Rosenbaum. “Us men need to ‘man-up’ and get checked regularly, share the responsibility with our healthcare provider and advocate for our own health. The chances of surviving prostate cancer is much better if it’s caught early.”

Rosenbaum survived prostate cancer and became a volunteer health educator with Karmanos as a way to honor his late brother and to share the importance of screening, early detection, and prevention of prostate cancer. He’s also served on the Karmanos’ Survivorship University Advisory committee where he assisted in planning programs and events year-round to help cancer survivors and their loved ones.

Rosenbaum received Karmanos’ 2009 Patricia Milner Sachs Heart of a Survivor Award for his outstanding work as a cancer survivor and volunteer. Additionally, he is an active member of US TOO, an international prostate cancer education and support network.

Rosenbaum, who has also survived non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, has given selflessly of his time, sharing his words of wisdom with kindness, a warm smile and his characteristic can-do attitude.

“I would like to think that I’ve given information to help others survive this disease. Even if I helped one person, it’s worth it.”

In addition to the awards presentation, the symposium attendees heard from prostate cancer experts and had an opportunity to ask questions of the experts. Attendees also heard inspirational keynote speaker Robert Ginyard, entrepreneur, advocate and prostate cancer survivor who shared his experiences addressing issues such as sex, love and life after prostate cancer.

“We know that prostate cancer may not get as much attention as some other cancers, like breast cancer, but we can certainly learn from the awareness progress that’s been made,” said Elisabeth Heath, M.D., FACP, chair of the Prostate Cancer Symposium, leader of the Prostate Cancer Research team and professor of Oncology and Medicine, Karmanos Cancer Institute and WSU SOM.

“The mission of the Karmanos Cancer Institute is to eradicate all cancers,” said Dr. Heath. “It will take all of us collectively to help make a difference – enhancing the awareness and discussion about prostate cancer; and encouraging screening, education and advocacy to help prevent this disease, as well as detect it early so all men, no matter what their ethnicity, survive this disease.”  

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