CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte man is encouraging others to get a prostate cancer screening after he says it likely saved his life.


What You Need To Know

  • Black men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to white men, according to the National Cancer Institute
  • They are also more likely to be diagnosed with the illness
  • Thomas Clark says he caught his prostate cancer early thanks to a yearly physical that included a prostate-specific antigen test


Thomas Clark loves dancing with his wife. He’s been moving his feet to the beat for as long as he can remember, and 3 years ago, he was feeling as good as ever.

“Just fine, oh yeah,” Clark said. “I had no idea. My appetite was good.”

But inside his body, something was very wrong. He never would have known if he hadn’t gone for a yearly physical and had a prostate-specific antigen test, also known as a PSA. 

“When I got the diagnosis, I was surprised because I have been getting checked since I was 32, and now I am 78,” Clark said.

Luckily, Clark caught the cancer early. He underwent radiation and had to take chemotherapy pills.

“If they hadn’t caught it when they got it, I probably would not be here,” Clark said.

Clark knew it was important to get the cancer screenings because many of his friends have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He showed a picture displayed on his wall that included six friends who had the illness. He said luckily, none of them died from prostate cancer because they caught it early.

“This is why screening is so important,” Clark said.

The National Cancer Institute reports Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer compared to white men. Board-certified Urologist with Urology Specialists of the Carolinas Dr. Blair Townsend says this could be because of a genetic predisposition.

“A lot of the time their father had prostate cancer or his brother or uncle,” Townsend said.

He says men age 55 to 69 should have a prostate screening every year, but that should start sooner if the person is Black or has a family history of the illness.

“What we are trying to create is enthusiasm around men’s health, men lifting other men up and male physicians lifting their patients up,” Townsend said.

Clark says thanks to his early diagnosis, he is back to dancing and living his life. He hopes others come away with this message.

“If you want to have a high quality of life, and especially if you are Black male, then the sooner you get it the better,” Clark said.

The nonprofit Zero is holding several walks to end prostate cancer across North Carolina. Raleigh is hosting one on Oct. 22 on N.C. State's campus. In Charlotte, it will happen Oct. 29 at OrthoCarolina University. Greensboro is also hosting one Nov. 12 at Alliance Urology Specialists.

For a full list and details, visit their website.