Five-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world Evander Holyfield is a goodwill ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. He’s appeared in two public service announcements for the organization and is always at the ready to lend his voice and influence to spread awareness about the importance of getting checked for prostate cancer.

Mediaplanet recently sat down with Evander to learn why.

Mediaplanet: How did you get involved with the Prostate Cancer Foundation?

Evander Holyfield: Through Team Holyfield, my philanthropic organization, I’m always keeping my eyes open for service-based opportunities that can make the biggest difference in people’s lives. I’m especially interested in supporting initiatives that affect the African-American community. The Prostate Cancer Foundation covers both bases. They’re working hard to save lives and to raise awareness among the African-American population about the high risk of getting this disease.

MP: Is that what drove you to align with the Prostate Cancer Foundation?

EH: What impacted me the most were the statistics. The fact that 1 out of every 5 African-American men will get prostate cancer in his life is disturbing. And African-American men are nearly twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men, and more than twice as likely to die from the disease. When I learned all of this, I knew I needed to lend my voice to this issue.

"Even tough guys like me get checked for prostate cancer. And I’m pretty tough!"

MP: What is the key message you like to focus on when reaching out to men about the importance of getting checked for prostate cancer?

EH: Men need to get over the tough-guy macho thing. Because even tough guys like me get checked for prostate cancer. And I’m pretty tough! So go tell your husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and friends to get checked. I use the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s mantra a lot: “Man up and get checked!” Being proactive and getting screened for prostate cancer can be the difference between living and dying.

MP: In your opinion, what’s another major barrier that keeps men from getting checked and what message can you share that would help them decide to get checked?

EH: One of the main barriers, plain and simple, is that getting checked for prostate cancer sounds scary. Getting checked may not sound pleasant, but it’s necessary. It can save your life and it takes just a few minutes in a doctor’s office. It’s easy. If I can do it, you can do it.

And when you consider that prostate cancer is 100 percent treatable if detected early enough, it should be a no-brainer. Men need to man up and get checked. Together, we can spread the word and hopefully knock out prostate cancer for good.