By Paul Cannon on Nov 19, 2021 2:26:19 PM
The month of November is also known as #movember, a movement created to raise and increase awareness of men’s health issues, most notably related to prostate and testicular cancer. #Movember follows the better-known breast cancer awareness month of October. But arguably, where women are more open about discussing such health issues, men are traditionally much more reserved. The #Movember movement serves to get guys to open up and be more aware.
This year, #Movember has taken on a very personal significance. In July, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was lucky, as my early diagnosis allowed me to have surgery that completely removed the cancer, and I am now cancer free. All I need to do is recover from the surgery and in my case, the ensuing complications that arose. But that’s a whole other story.
The point here, is how I came to get my diagnosis, and that’s where awareness is so key.
I am fortunate to have a primary care physician that monitors me every six months and does routine blood work. Over the last three visits, he saw that my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) had been steadily rising. It wasn’t over the top of the range, but it was going up. He said, “get it checked,” and sent me to a urologist who performed a relatively quick, though not very pleasant biopsy. Then the pathology report came back and confirmed my fears; my prostate was cancerous. Once diagnosed I was referred to the Urological Oncology team at Celebration Hospital near Orlando. By October, I’d had a radical prostatectomy and I am now cancer free.
Prostate Cancer is very, very common; second only to skin cancer (in men). In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, one in eight men will get it in 2021. That’s over 248,500 cases. Of these, 34,100 men in will die. Prostate Cancer is the second most deadly cancer, second to lung cancer. One man in 41 will die from it. But many diagnosed cases are very treatable if detected early enough, often with excellent outcomes. 3.1 million men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive today.
And this is my message. Men, be open and proactive about your health, particularly around those parts that you hold so dear. Get yourself checked regularly. Go see your PCP and get your PSA checked regularly. Do a basic examination of yourself and look for any misshapes in your testicles, just as women do to check their breasts. Don’t be ashamed to do this. Talk about it with your buddies. But pay attention to it. This is the key purpose of #Movember.
So, what can you do?
Three things: spread the word, please. Share this message. I am not seeking notoriety; I just want men to be aware and to act. Second, go to https://us.movember.com/search/?q=Delray+beach and donate. Why this team? Simply because when I needed EMT’s to transport me to the hospital last week, these were the ones that took me. These guys at the Delray Beach Fire and Rescue Department @DelrayBeachFire are simply amazing, and this is my way to say thank you!
And third, make a statement guys. Grow some whiskers.