22 Sep 2014

Men's Health: A Challenge To Take Responsibility

Men’s health is the buzzword for the second annual conference of The Walnut Foundation, happening Sept. 27 at the Ted Rogers School of Management, at Ryerson University.

The conference, which is the brainchild of Dr. Winston Isaac, aims to arm “regular people” with crucial information on potentially chronic illnesses, particularly cancer. Having been a prostate cancer survivor himself, Isaac says support and information are crucial components when dealing with the illness.

“Based on my academic and personal experience with cancer I realize black men don’t have the necessary support or space to speak up about their illness,” Isaac says. “So the conference is designed to get the information out at an affordable cost to ensure the information is accessible.”

The conference targets men of colour, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Recently released data shows a disproportionate number of black men being affected by prostate cancer. According to an estimate by Stats Canada more than 40,000 men will die from cancer in 2014 with an average of 524 being diagnosed a day. This figure becomes even more alarming for organizations like The Walnut Foundation when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that black men are more likely to die from cancer than any other racial group.

Ken Noel, a cancer survivor and member of the Walnut Foundation for two years, says he was “blown away” by the experience of the first conference and is looking forward to the second staging.

“Last conference was beyond any word I can find to describe it,” Noel says. “After the presentations men who were afraid to go see their doctors, pledged to do so the next Monday.”

Noel says despite his personal research on cancer, the presenters at the conference were still able to aid in his understanding and he learned things he did not know before.

The presenters who are all experts in their respective fields have been instructed to break down the information to it’s simplest form to ensure attendants benefit from the information.

Dr. Richard Casey, a Urologist will lead on the basics of Prostate Cancer and he will be followed by Dr. Joyce Davison who will address Information and Decision Preferences of Men Newly Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. To round off the Prostate Cancer session, Cheri Van Patten will share tips on Diet and Prostate Cancer: What you need to know from her research and work as a Registered Dietitian with the BC Cancer Agency. Dr. J. W. Scholey will lead off the session on Diabetes and will be followed by Angela Walker-Sterling, a Master’s prepared Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist. Her presentation will be Living Well with Diabetes. A panel will provide lived experiences of Pharmacist, Nurse and Client.

“It isn’t a high level conference,” Isaac says. “We have to cater to all levels of comprehension.”

Anthony Henry has been a member of the Walnut Foundation for the better part of five years, and though he has never had cancer, it has touched close to home for him. “Black culture is one of silence, “ Henry says. “We don’t speak about illness and this actually does more harm than good.”

Henry says he was impressed with the foundation and the work they do in educating members of the community on cancer and the need to have regular check ups.

“Maintenance is important, we have to keep the body working to ensure long healthy lives,” Henry says.

The Walnut Foundation, which holds monthly meetings with survivors, supporters and men currently dealing with cancer, has the financial backing of Janssen, a pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson and the W.B. Family Foundation to ensure the cost of the conference remains affordable.

Date and Time: Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 9:00 am to 4:15 pm. Registration and refreshments from 8:00 am

Location: The Ted Rogers School of Management (Ryerson University) 55 Dundas Street West (between Yonge and Bay Streets), Toronto

Cost: $40:00 with lunch and refreshments.

To Register: Contact Dr. Winston Isaac at 905 799 2759 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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