Sperling Prostate Center

Let’s Prevent a Ballpark Full of Prostate Cancer Deaths

Numbers. Statistics. Sometimes we are so inundated with facts and figures that we slide into a state of numbness. The Dow is up 200 points. Hurricane Ian caused 157 fatalities. Each year in the U.S. 27 million dogs and cats are born. If you’re not invested in the stock market, you don’t know anyone in south Florida, or you don’t own a pet, the numbers are meaningless. We tune them out. So what? Who cares?

Sometimes, however, a number evokes an image so real we can’t help but relate to it. I came across a prostate cancer (PCa) statistic that made a huge impact on me. The raw mortality data comes from the American Cancer Society: “Every 15 minutes another American man dies from prostate cancer. That’s more than 94 deaths per day and 34,500 this year.” Those are powerful numbers, but what came next made a dramatic impression on me. “That’s enough to fill an entire baseball stadium.”

The last time I attended a major league ballgame, the ballpark was full. My sensory recollections are vivid. The teams were on the field. The day was hot and humid. Occasionally a batter would connect with the ball, and if the loud crack resulted in a homer, the crowd went wild. All the while, hawkers were busily trolling the stands selling beer and peanuts, and the folks in the bleachers were toasting in the sun. It’s a happy, carefree memory.

But when I read the collective annual PCa deaths, the number 34,500 held new power. Imagine a bomb wiping out an entire ballpark where over 34,000 people are enjoying the afternoon and rooting for their favorite team. In an instant, all those lives are gone. Not only are the individuals destroyed, but their loved ones are suddenly left in an aftermath of mourning and trauma—an exponential magnification of loss.

The numbers: diffuse vs. concentrated

To return to my original theme, abstract figures that are spread out over time are diffuse and easy to ignore. The statistic that 94 men will die today from PCa is easier to brush off. But, if a ballpark bomber ended the lives of over 34,000 people in a single episode, the event would be immortalized.

Fundraisers, annual memorial services, public rallies, government interventions—such an outcry and more would be swiftly mobilized in the aftermath of a ballpark disaster.

Where is the outcry over the relatively small daily number of PCa deaths that annually amounts to the same impact as blowing up a full ballpark? If you are as struck as I was, please consider exploring ways to raise awareness or contribute to research funds. The sooner we figure out how to prevent and cure PCa, the more men will live to walk their daughters down the wedding aisle and teach their grandkids how to enjoy baseball.

NOTE: This content is solely for purposes of information and does not substitute for diagnostic or medical advice. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing pelvic pain, or have any other health concerns or questions of a personal medical nature.

About Dr. Dan Sperling

Dan Sperling, MD, DABR, is a board certified radiologist who is globally recognized as a leader in multiparametric MRI for the detection and diagnosis of a range of disease conditions. As Medical Director of the Sperling Prostate Center, Sperling Medical Group and Sperling Neurosurgery Associates, he and his team are on the leading edge of significant change in medical practice. He is the co-author of the new patient book Redefining Prostate Cancer, and is a contributing author on over 25 published studies. For more information, contact the Sperling Prostate Center.

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