Richard Satterwhite was 44 in the fall of 2007 when he started having problems urinating. While watching television, Richard saw a commercial about benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), more commonly known as an enlarged prostate. Some of the symptoms seemed to fit what Richard was experiencing. “Maybe this is my problem,” he thought. “I’ll see my doctor, get a pill and I’ll be ok.”
Though he was on the young side of men at risk for prostate cancer, his doctor recommende a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and eventually a biopsy on the prostate gland. Half of the 12 tissue samples from Richard’s biopsy had cancer cells. He had prostate cancer.
"I felt like the wind had been sucked out of my sails"
In 2008, he co-founded Men Allied for the Need to Understand Prostate Cancer (MANUP Buffalo). This educational outreach organization educates men and their partners about the importance of regular health checkups and routine early detection tests, including prostate cancer screenings. MANUP also is behind Cruisin’ for a Cure Buffalo-Niagara, which Satterwhite calls “the car show that saves lives.”
For Richard, learning more about prostate cancer was empowering. “Fear of the unknown will kill you. It’s hard to be afraid of something you understand,” he told Roswell Park in July 2021. “This is a cancer that disproportionally affects men of color, but no one knows why. The reality is, beyond cancer, there’s high blood pressure, diabetes and other things that impact people of color at higher rates. Because of all of those things, it’s good to have regular checkups. You have to do everything you can to give yourself a decent quality of life.”