According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 288,300 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2023 and 34,700 deaths will be attributed to the disease.1 September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time designated to help people learn more about the disease and to support those who are affected.
To support this important campaign and further educate providers on the resources available for their patients, Oncology Practice Management (OPM) spoke with Shelby Moneer, MS, CHES, Vice President, Patient Programs and Education, ZERO Prostate Cancer, Alexandria, VA, about the organization’s mission and vast array of services.
OPM: Can you give us a brief history of ZERO Prostate Cancer and how the organization has evolved over the years?
Ms Moneer: ZERO Prostate Cancer, originally the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, was created in 1996 after several patients, physicians, and advocates came together to stand up for men and families impacted by prostate cancer. It brought the face of prostate cancer to the US Congress, spearheading the US Department of Defense’s Prostate Cancer Research Program, forming strategic alliances to advance prostate cancer research, and pioneering free mobile prostate cancer testing for men at risk for developing the disease.
As the prostate cancer landscape has evolved, so have we. Today, ZERO is the destination for taking action to end prostate cancer and creating solutions to meet the most critical needs of our community. One of our most important initiatives is advancing health equity to bridge the gap between racial and health disparities in prostate cancer among Black men, one of the groups most at risk for the disease. We continue to be on the front lines in Washington, DC, as well as in our grassroots communities, to help drive new legislation and policies that positively impact those at risk and suffering from prostate cancer. We provide educational and support resources and work tirelessly to “ZERO out” prostate cancer once and for all.
Shelby Moneer, MS, CHES
Today, ZERO is the destination for taking action to end prostate cancer and creating solutions to meet the most critical needs of our community.
—Shelby Moneer, MS, CHES
OPM: What types of services are available through your organization?
Ms Moneer: ZERO is proud to offer a wide array of prostate cancer education and support services to all individuals impacted by prostate cancer. ZERO360, our comprehensive support program, pairs patients with a trained case manager, helping to navigate insurance, provide psychosocial support, reduce out-of-pocket costs, and ensure access to care. Since its inception, ZERO360 has provided more than $8 million in debt relief to patients and has helped them find the support they needed during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
ZERO is also the home of more than 140 in-person and virtual Us TOO Support Groups, providing peer-to-peer support groups for patients, caregivers, and those who have lost loved ones. Groups are open to all, and specific population groups also exist, such as groups for Black men, the LGBTQIA+ community, deaf and hard of hearing men, and Spanish-speaking groups, with more being added regularly.
Additional support and education resources include our one-on-one MENtor Program, various online support resources through Facebook and Inspire, the annual ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit, educational webinars, literature, and booklets to help patients and their loved ones at every step of their prostate cancer journey.
Lastly, for the past 2 years, ZERO has partnered with several continuing medical education providers to offer the patient lens in a variety of healthcare provider–facing educational opportunities. We know that not only do patients and their families need to be well-informed, active participants in their care, but we also must ensure that the healthcare community has the resources they need to stay ahead of all the exciting advancements in the treatment and diagnostics landscape.
OPM: Can you tell us more about the healthcare disparities currently facing patients with prostate cancer and how ZERO is working to ensure more equitable care?
Ms Moneer: The American Cancer Society first began reporting on cancer disparities by race and socioeconomic status in the United States in 1986. The report included several recommendations to mitigate these disparities, including increasing cancer prevention awareness and access to care. Despite years of these recommendations, however, differences in mortality for all cancers combined and for primary cancers by race (Black vs White populations), socioeconomic status, and rurality/urbanicity have increased since the publication of this original report.2
We know that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in Black men in the United States. Not only are Black men more likely to get prostate cancer, but they are also more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease compared with White men. Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.1 times more likely to die from the disease. For all men in the United States, the risk for being diagnosed with prostate cancer is 1 in 8.1 That drops to 1 in 6 for Black men.3
ZERO’s efforts to achieve health equity attempt to ensure that all groups managing a prostate cancer diagnosis, but especially those at greatest risk, achieve their best health possible. We work to get everyone on the prostate cancer journey what they need, when they need it, through our education, support, and advocacy efforts.
OPM: Tell us about the We’re Not Gonna Take It campaign.
Ms Moneer: We’re Not Gonna Take It is an exciting awareness campaign in partnership with Jay Jay French from the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. Our podcasts and videos with Jay Jay, a prostate cancer survivor, are shining a light on the disease, spreading awareness, and providing much needed encouragement and information to help men talk to their doctors about their prostate cancer risk. Special guests join Jay Jay in discussing important topics such as early detection, treatment, and managing side effects.
A prostate cancer quiz, “Truth or Twisted,” was also developed as part of the campaign to help bust some common myths about prostate cancer and who is at risk for developing the disease.
The campaign is developed in collaboration with Bayer and has raised thousands of dollars for prostate cancer education, advocacy, and support. Individuals can learn more about this campaign by going to https://zerocancer.org/were-not-gonna-take-it-campaign.
ZERO’s efforts to achieve health equity attempt to ensure that all groups managing a prostate cancer diagnosis, but especially those at greatest risk, achieve their best health possible.
—Shelby Moneer, MS, CHES
OPM: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Ms Moneer: We know that alone, we cannot put an end to prostate cancer. Becoming involved in raising awareness, spreading education, and raising funds can occur in a number of ways. I would encourage people to consider registering a team for one of ZERO’s 50 run/walk events throughout the country, ordering educational literature to take to their local physician’s office, registering to listen in on an educational webinar, raising awareness and funds by participating in our Grow & Give campaign, or attending a tee-off golf event. They can go to https://zerocancer.org/ to learn more about these opportunities. The sky is the limit, and everyone can get involved and help make a difference in the lives of patients with prostate cancer.
- Prostate cancer. American Cancer Society. Updated January 12, 2023. Accessed August 15, 2023. www.cancer.org/cancer/types/prostate-cancer.html
- Cancer facts & figures 2023. American Cancer Society. Accessed August 15, 2023. www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2023/2023-cancer-facts-and-figures.pdf
- Cancer facts & figures for African American/Black people 2022-2024. American Cancer Society. Accessed August 15, 2023. www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-african-americans/2022-2024-cff-aa.pdf