Dexter King’s Three-Year Battle Against Prostate Cancer is a Reminder to Get Screened Early

By Alex Whittler

Dexter King, the youngest son of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., battled prostate cancer for three-and-a-half years before his death.

The King family did not give specifics as to how doctors worked to treat it, but they did say the humanitarian and actor put up a “valiant” battle.

Dr. John Stewart, Chief of Surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine, says the best way to fight prostate cancer is with early detection. The American Cancer Society recommends men start screening for the disease annually at 45 years old. For Black men, who are more susceptible to the disease, that means starting annual screenings at 40 years old.

“It’s a quick exam that could save your life,” Dr. Stewart said.

Doctors say a family history of prostate cancer can increase one’s odds of diagnosis.

Many men don’t discuss medical history, which Dr. Stewart says it should become less taboo.

“This is why prostate cancer is so lethal. It frequently doesn’t cause symptoms in advanced stages. The cancer could grow, and a man would never know it because there are minimal symptoms,” he said.

There are now more treatment options than ever, such as surgery, which includes minimally invasive procedures. In recent years, some doctors have taken a watch and wait approach. Others recommend radiation therapy.

“There does appear to be a correlation between high fat diets and the presence of prostate cancer,” Dr. Stewart said.

The primary concern is early detection. With it, doctors say prostate cancer is treatable and beatable.