portrait of Tom Sheppard

Ask the Advocate: Daily Health to Prostate Cancer Awareness

For Men's Health Month, ProstateCancer.net sat down with community advocate Tom Sheppard to chat about how his approach to health changed after his prostate cancer diagnosis. Along with prostate cancer, Tom is also diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. While his Parkinson's has been slow to progress and his PSA is currently undetectable, he lives with other chronic conditions that have motivated him to focus on living healthy and exercising routinely.

Advocating for your health

What can men do to take better control of their health (both physical and mental health)?

Tom: There is much one can do to maximize good health. First of all is prevention. Heading off the issue is much more comfortable, less expensive, less time-consuming, less painful, etc. than dealing with it in full bloom.

We all know proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep are essential. Having appropriate vaccines, testing, and physicals become more critical as we get older. Everybody knows all this stuff. But we can’t just think and talk about it. For a better and healthier life, we must do it.

What to do when that unwanted diagnosis comes? Accept the diagnosis and start your research. One must look for serious institutions (such as Mayo Clinic) and meaningful websites (like ProstateCancer.net) for information. Become your own best advocate. Keep a journal of your symptoms and medications. Be prepared for your doctor’s appointment by writing down your questions. Then listen to the doc, take his advice, or get a second opinion.

Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Share here!

Holding yourself accountable

How can men build a support team to help them stay accountable for their health?

Tom: If men are willing to take care of their health, then it is much easier to find team members who will support their efforts.

It starts at home with a loved one who has your best interests in mind. Of course, having the right doctor who can guide you through the medical minefields plus steer you to where you find outside help. This could include various therapists or possibly support groups. In those support groups, you are likely to find someone who has “been there, done that” and wants to help. These encounters with folks in the same boat can be quite helpful. And, of course, family and friends will always be there. Let them help and support you.


Do you have someone who helps you stay on top of your health?

Raising awareness about men's health

Why is it essential to acknowledge men’s health month?

Tom: Raising awareness of men’s health issues with a month dedicated to reaching men will aid in the prevention of some conditions and also encourage men to seek quick and proper treatment. Men’s Health Month and its various activities will help men pay more attention to their health.

Everyday is a good time to acknowledge men's health! Read more about prostate cancer, exercise, and incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine!

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