Local film highlights prostate cancer disparities in black men

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NORFOLK, Va. – A Hampton Roads-based film, The Black Walnut, is shining a light the health disparities surrounding black men and prostate cancer.

“When you hear the word cancer, it really gets your attention,” said The Black Walnut filmmaker Terrance Afer-Anderson.

Afer-Anderson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010.  He credits an early diagnosis and his faith for his healing.  The experience inspired him to create the film.

“It was important to me to increase awareness of the disparity impacting African American men,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men, and are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to white men.  Additionally, black men get prostate cancer at a younger age and are more likely to have more severe types of prostate cancer.

“The movie is a hard look at prostate cancer,” said lead actor Kwame Rakes.  “It’s an eye-opening experience.”

“Cancer affects all of us,” added lead actress April Marcell.

The film features nine prostate cancer survivors, a urologist and a medical oncologist in dramatic roles.

On Saturday, December 7, the Cooper-Mercer Institute, TerraVizion Entertainment Network, GB Studios, and the Greater Norfolk Medical Society of South Hampton Roads, in association with The New Journal and Guide, will present special sneak previews of The Black Walnut at the ODU University Theatre.

General admission for the 2:00 p.m. screening is $15.00. The 6:00 p.m. screening is a special red carpet event featuring entertainment and a meet and great with the cast for  $30.00.  Proceeds will go toward completion of the film, which is set to debut in 2020.

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