Listen to these advocates share their thoughts about where we are today with prostate cancer awareness in this episode of Radio Smart Talk:
What does ZERO stand for?
Zero prostate cancer deaths. Zero prostate cancer cases and for those with prostate cancer it means a zero PSA. Our name conveys what we stand for zero tolerance for prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. It estimates that about 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2012 and approximately 28,170 men will die of the disease. About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. But, there’s hope. If it is caught early enough, this cancer is highly curable.
So where are we today with advocacy, awareness, research and treatment of this disease?
Jay Snyder is enthusiastic about the advances that have been made since his own diagnosis. “We learned about new oral chemotherapy drugs, new developments in CyberKnife targeted radiation treatment, which provides state-of-the-art prostatectomy surgery, and the new research out on drugs that can prevent prostate cancer.”
Thomas Goodman, Jr. had a heart attack in 2005. That’s when doctors found out that he had an enlarged prostate. “I got some biopsies done, and the second one was cancerous. I want people to know that a prostate cancer diagnosis is not the end. It is more of an eye-opener because I could have ignored it, but I have a life to live and children to care for. God didn’t put me on this Earth to give up.” It is important to be aware- don’t ignore, he says.
Thomas will continue his work raising awareness and talking with other men about his disease as the new VP of Warriors Fighting for His Cure.
Both men highlighted the fact that this is an issue that cuts across sex boundaries. Women need to be just as aware of the disease so that they can be proactive about helping men in their lives.
And, both Jay and Thomas aren’t afraid to talk openly about the potential sexual side-effects from surgery and treatment. “A man’s sex life will change,” Jay says. The inability to have an erection and incontinence are potential side-effects of surgery. But Jay reassures listeners that “The body will heal itself. And, with robotic surgery, there’s less risk of those side-effects happening.”
Jay adds, “There’s no ‘one size fits all.’ Men are different, each cancer is different, treatment and reaction to treatments are different. The only thing we do know to be the same is that a man will never have an ejaculation again because the prostate is what controls that. But that doesn’t mean he’ll never have an orgasm again or can’t be sexually active.”
There are many ways to face a prostate cancer diagnosis, but it is not to be ignored, they say. You can “watch and wait,” keeping a close eye on the PSA (prostate specific antigen) number, and there are radiation and chemotherapy treatments available to treat the disease, as well as surgery.
Thomas says that he had no pain yet the cancer was there. He says to be aware of any abnormality and get it checked because ignoring makes it worse. One of the symptoms is frequent urination, so Thomas says to speak with your urologist who is able to test what’s wrong. He adds that the cancer can be hereditary, and to keep in mind that African Americans are at higher risk. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor.
(All photos courtesy of photographer Belinda Morton 301-483-8333)
Prostate cancer resources:
Jay Snyder's story
Prostate cancer stories and resources on the Facing Cancer Together website
Warriors Fighting For His Cure
Personal stories about prostate cancer shared at the Digital Quilt. Add your won story br creating a patch!
ZERO — The Project to End Prostate Cancer
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer early detection
Here’s how you can get involved:
Participate in the Harrisburg 2012 Great Prostate Cancer Challenge on Friday, September 28, 2012 at City Island – (Harrisburg) . Watch a video of Jay and Thomas at last year’s event: