Like many men, Thomas Milana Jr. didn’t dedicate much time to taking care of his health, but after surviving a surprise prostate cancer diagnosis, he turned his wake-up call into a mission.
Milana has since become a prostate cancer victim advocate and founded the Melville-based nonprofit Man Cave Health. In January, it opened a first-of-its-kind sports-themed resource center at the Department of Urology at Mount Sinai Health System in Manhattan that is meant to make men more comfortable discussing sensitive topics with their healthcare providers.
“Men need to know that it’s important to go to the doctor, and if we can provide them with an environment that is male-friendly, it will encourage them to seek preventive care and treatment,” says Milana.
One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common cancer among men other than skin cancer, but it is treatable if caught early, according to the American Cancer Society.
For his part, Milana is in talks to open a dozen more Man Cave Health centers nationwide — the next one in California and another on Long Island — with the goal of getting more men to the doctor and increasing early prevention.
“It’s critical for men to identify prostate cancer at its earliest stages with prostate-specific antigen testing and consultations,” he says.
The centers feature sports memorabilia, televisions tuned to sports programming, a free coffee bar, and leather seating meant to evoke a sense of familiarity.
The Mount Sinai location offers access to medical services such as state-of-the-art prostate cancer screening technologies, precision urology, and holistic treatments such as acupuncture and traditional Asian medicine. Future centers may also offer support groups.
The first location was funded entirely by donations raised by Man Cave Health and its parent organization, The Milana Family Foundation. Donors can support the cause via the group’s annual golf outing June 10 at Fresh Meadow Country Club.
“Men take better care of their cars than they do their bodies, and that needs to change,” says Dr. Ash Tewari, Chair of the Department of Urology at Mount Sinai Health System. “Man Cave Health offers a new way to start a conversation about health issues that men avoid discussing.”
Man Cave Health is located at 600 Broadhollow Rd., Suite 200 in Melville. Call 800-535-9096 or visit ManCaveHealth.org for more information.