Partners in Prostate Cancer

A great time was had by all at the recent Prostate Cancer Tweet Chat hosted by the Urology Care Foundation. Having two of my football sports heros, Marcus Allen and Mike Haynes, involved in the chat really energized the conversation and certainly made it a personal highlight of this year’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Best Weapon Yet

Another highlight from this Chat was the realization that the most powerful weapons in our arsenal of awareness to help us conquer prostate cancer are actually quite close to us: our loved ones. Wives, partners, family and friends are potent forces for getting men the care that they need. Always have been and always will be.

Writer Judy Berman raised this point during the Chat and it stuck with me. So much so, that after the Chat, I contacted Judy and The Saturday Evening Post and asked whether we might post her insightful experience as a partner in the battle against prostate cancer:

“My husband, Bob, has what you might call an allergy to doctors. ‘I used to measure my health each year by whether I could run the nearly 7.5-mile San Francisco Bay to Breakers race in under an hour,’ he says.

So it was on a summer day in 2012 that I had to practically chase my 58-year-old spouse out of the house for a long-overdue physical exam I’d booked for him. (I’d set up my annual physical, complete with mammogram, for the same day.)

What precipitated the doctor visit for Bob was not a symptom — he was perfectly healthy — but rather a vague worry I’d been feeling ever since a good friend of ours was diagnosed with prostate cancer (out of the blue) a few months earlier. And I learned from just the briefest online search that Bob was nearing the age when prostate cancer surges. Dr. Patrick Walsh of Johns Hopkins University, considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the disease, writes, ‘After age 60, prostate cancer seems to shift into high gear — and a man is three times more likely to develop it than a woman is to develop breast cancer.’

The American Cancer Society estimates that 232,570 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year. The prostate cancer number is almost the same, 233,000. Still, our awareness of the two is not at all equal. October, with its ubiquitous pink ribbons, has come to symbolize breast cancer awareness. Buildings across America, even the White House, light up in pink. NFL players, the epitome of male power and strength, sport the ribbon and don pink accessories to raise awareness. I’m guessing you didn’t know that September has a ribbon too — a little-seen light-blue ribbon that is the sign of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. I certainly didn’t. But my understanding of the disease was about to grow exponentially.”

So hats off to those individuals far and wide whose personal commitment to others helps cure them of cancer. You are soul of awareness and also its greatest manifestation, a force against which cancer has no chance.

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Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor

View posts by Dr. Paul Turek, Medical Contributor
Dr. Paul Turek is an internationally known thought leader in men’s reproductive and sexual health care and research. A fellowship trained, board-certified physician by the American Board of Urology (ABU), he has received numerous honors and awards for his work and is an active member in professional associations worldwide. His recent lectures, publications and book titles can be found in his curriculum vitae.
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