August 16 2002

IMPACT has been Profoundly Effective

This letter is in response to Victor Menaldo’s article, “Prostate Cancer—A Subject Most Hispanic Males Avoid, But one that needs their full attention,” which appeared in the August 9th edition of La Prensa San Diego. The article incorrectly attributed a comment regarding the unavailability of screening to Olivia Fernandez, the San Diego Regional Program Manager for IMPACT (Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer). The statement no doubt reflects Mr. Menaldo’s frustration with the current medical system.

IMPACT offers free prostate cancer treatment for low-income men without health insurance in California. Funded by the California Department of Health Services, IMPACT targets underserved minority communities, where help is needed most. Since its inception in July 2001, IMPACT has been a profoundly effective.

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer. In 2001, 17,500 California men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2,800 died from it. African-American and Latino men are at the highest risk for prostate cancer — 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of disease — when immediate assistance is needed. IMPACT targets the individual needs of diverse, multi-cultural communities by addressing the both the medical and non-medical needs of the patient.

Here is what some of IMPACT’s participants have to say about our program:

“IMPACT saved me from a nightmare.”

The quality of care IMPACT provided went “way beyond” what one would normally expect and I am “extraordinarily grateful” to the program.

“Now I know that there are people who care about my well-being.”

“I couldn’t have been in better hands...IMPACT gave me cutting-edge technology.”

“The program has given me hope again.”

IMPACT provides a much needed service for men who would otherwise have little recourse for treatment.

Mark S. Litwin, M.D., M.P.H.
Program Director, IMPACT

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