Prostate Cancer: It’s Not Just for Men!
For most of us men (as evidenced in the fact that more than half of us over 40 years of age do not get prostate screenings), prostate cancer is something we don’t want to think about or address. There are many reasons for this…
- Many of us (either consciously or not) push back the anxiety of hearing the dreaded words (“you have cancer”). We may have accepted the myth that the “C word” is a death knoll, and be unaware that medical advancements have created many pathways to wellness, including some with only minimal or no side effects. For nearly all adults, at some point in life (early or late) disease management becomes the safest bet to a long and productive life.
- We may feel that we are somehow to blame…..that our disease is a payback from poor lifestyle choices, and not know that some diseases cannot be prevented. Many myths plague us in this area, from being too sexually active to being impotent, from too doing too much bike riding to not getting enough exercise……and so on!
- Many of us had role models (fathers, athletes, movie stars) seemed to impart that our feelings were to kept private, especially any that would cast doubt on our manhood. Just like “real men don’t cry,” we often follow an unwritten rule that we keep our chin up, and keep our feelings and fears to ourselves. We often hear men proclaim that “when my time is up, it’s up…..I don’t want to know about it!”
For me, all I can say is that I’m not going solo, and that I have embraced the fact that PROSTATE CANCER IS NOT JUST FOR MEN!
When I called my wife, Sue to tell her I had just received the results of my prostate biopsy, she let me know immediately that “we’re in this thing together.” She had accompanied me to get my biopsy, she was at my side when we met with my urologist to consider our options, she co-owned our decision to get the beam radiation (Calypso Method) treatment, she was there when the beacons were implanted that would guide the radiation beams, and she is driving me to each of the forty-five treatments I’m in the process of receiving.
In a radio interview last week, Sue and I spoke candidly about the critical role that spouses and partners play in helping men not only face their disease with courage, but also in playing a vital role in the treatment and healing process. Indeed, our loved ones can help transform us from a sense of dire straits to ultimate success. Since my own announcement of having prostate cancer, many men have opened up to me about their experiences. Some were surrounded by a circle of support, while others faced it alone.
So if prostate cancer is not just for men, how do we get them to open up their hearts and lives so that others can join hands in the fight? Who’s in our lives that we really listen to….who we know will make a difference if we only let them?