Monday, July 07, 2008
Pints for Prostates Campaign Launched
Pints for Prostates Delivers Men’s Health Message Using the Universal Language of Beer
Effort Enlists the Beer Industry to Urge Prostate Cancer Screening
The symptoms of prostate cancer rarely show before the disease has progressed, but a simple PSA blood test can serve as an early warning and save men’s lives. But how do you reach men in their late 30s and early 40s, when statistics show they often skip regular physicals and avoid doctor’s offices?
“Pints for Prostates is an awareness campaign designed to reach men through the universal language of beer. We want to communicate with them in a friendly and non-threatening way about the need for regular PSA testing,” says Rick Lyke, a 47-year-old Charlotte, N.C., marketing executive and drinks journalist who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. “Early detection is the key to fighting prostate cancer and a PSA test and a physical exam are the best method to catch it early.”
“There are more than 230,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year, more than the number of new breast cancer cases in women. The problem is that prostate cancer does not get the same level of media attention as breast cancer and most men never discuss the subject with friends or family,” Lyke said. “Luckily I insisted on having a PSA test during a routine physical because a good friend is being treated for the disease. Time is precious when you are fighting prostate cancer. I received the gift of time from a friend. I felt like I had a responsibility to warn other men.”
After successful prostate surgery in April at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago by Dr. William Catalona, Lyke started to think about ways to reach as many men as possible with a message about prostate screening and PSA testing. That is when it occurred to him that one of the best ways to reach men is over a pint of beer.
Lyke started Pints for Prostates after talking to a couple of editors at magazines where he writes. The idea was well received and he contacted Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a not for profit group founded and governed by prostate cancer survivors that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer.
“The idea of reaching men about health issues through beer sounded a little strange at first, but it makes perfect sense,” said Thomas Kirk, President and CEO of Us TOO International. “Our mission and program goal is to educate and empower men and their family members so men and their loved ones can take an active role in their health care. One in six men is at risk of developing prostate cancer during their life time and early detection through the monitoring of PSA levels is critical to getting the disease under control. Pints for Prostates will help us reach more men at a time when a growing number of men are at risk.”
Pints for Prostates is focused on reaching men during September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. So far 10 beer and beverage related publications have pledged a combination of advertising space, news coverage, website marketing and special event
support. The media involved include: All About Beer (www.allaboutbeer.com), DRAFT magazine (www.draftmag.com), the seven regional Brewing News newspapers (www.brewingnews.com), Imbibe (www.imbibemagazine.com), Beer Advocate
(www.beeradvocate.com), Celebrator Beer News (www.celebrator.com), Bartender Magazine (www.bartender.com), Modern Brewery Age (www.breweryage.com), Beer (www.thebeermag.com) and Beer Northwest (www.beernw.com).
Creative development and design for the advertising materials and logo for Pints for Prostates was donated by Eric Mower and Associates, a marketing communication agency with offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Sarasota, Fla. Lyke is a senior partner with the firm and heads up the agency’s southeast public relations operation.
Work is now underway to reach out to breweries, brewpubs and on-premise retailers to get their support in a cooperative effort among industry partners. The aim is to raise funds for Us TOO’s outreach efforts and to spark a grassroots effort to reach men that might be missed through traditional health education programs.
“One of our goals is to get brewers to print a PSA testing message on the back of beer coasters they use to promote their brands in restaurants and taverns around the country,” Lyke said. “Men can tell you about their favorite IPA(India Pale Ale), but few know about their PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). We need to help educate them about getting the simple blood test that measures prostate specific antigens because it can save their lives.”
Us TOO Board Chairman, prostate cancer warrior and support group leader Jim Kiefert says “Early diagnosis is essential. When I was 50-years-old a PSA test was the first step in my successful battle with prostate cancer. We envision Pints for Prostates will help reach millions of men with the PSA testing message. It is anticipated that many of Us TOO’s 325 local chapters will get involved with special events held around the country as part of the effort.”
For more information on the program please visit www.ustoo.org/pints.