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Letter: Prostate checkoff not being spent

New Yorkers have generously donated $1.8 million to support prostate cancer research through tax return deductions since 2005; news reports suggest that these funds are not being distributed. This is particularly worrisome as one in six American men develops prostate cancer in his lifetime, including 17,090 in New York State each year.

With early detection, prostate cancer is usually curable. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms specific to early-stage prostate cancer. The only way to find the disease is to proactively look for it. Complicating detection efforts are men's historical reticence to see physicians, along with recent confusing and misleading guidelines released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of primary care providers.

Men must understand that prostate cancer screening provides information that assists in making sound health care decisions. It is not an obligation to undergo further diagnostic testing, nor is it a commitment to undergo treatment.

The resources donated by New Yorkers could save thousands of lives. Education and screenings would help men detect cancer in its early, most curable stages. New Yorkers have risen to the challenge to help those stricken with prostate cancer. It is time that these funds are put to their intended use -- saving lives.

Dr. Deepak A. Kapoor, Melville

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Advanced Urology Centers of New York, a trade organization.