My Cousin's Prostate Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment
Diane interviews her cousin about his prostate cancer diagnosis, the financial toll of treatment, and his efforts to raise awareness about early testing.
A surprise diagnosis
I am 73 years old. A proud husband and father of five children, and a retired public official who also farms for pleasure. When my libido began to decline at 55, I paid little attention because I assumed it was due to aging. Nevertheless, my urine patterns changed, and my toilet trips increased significantly, which prompted me to consult a doctor. The results were unexpected and a big surprise to me to say the least.
The urologist performed a PSA test and a biopsy, and to my surprise, I discovered from the urologist that I had prostate cancer. This was a huge shock. It forced me to realize how important life is and how it can be taken from you at a moment’s notice. I gathered my thoughts and went in search of treatment information. Did a lot of reading on the internet and in magazines.
My wife convinced me to see several doctors and attended many prostate cancer campaigns and meetings. These meetings help me in simplifying the process, educating myself, and locating quality services before beginning any kind of treatment.
Going through treatment
I began treatment, which consisted of thirty-five rounds of radiotherapy, which was hard. Many people told me I was a strong man who never required assistance, but little did they know, I could not walk without aid after radiotherapy. I was not a happy camper at this point.
Unfortunately, even after radiotherapy, some of the cancer was still present, so I have opted for surgery to try to eliminate it. Overall, I want to be healthy and free of this illness. Each day, I'm spending a lot of money on treatment for which I'm not getting enough positive results. My biggest fear is running out of money for myself and my family.
The financial impact
Prostate cancer does have its monetary consequences. The worst part is the cost of treatments, which has further crippled me. I am in my golden years, so I thought, and should be enjoying my retirement. Instead, I'm spending my life savings on prostate cancer treatment.
I think my family, particularly my children, are the most affected, and it sometimes forces me to put on a brave face to calm their fears. Most of the assets that I would have left to my children as an inheritance are being used to treat this crippling illness. My advice to all young men is to get regular screenings to combat the disease at its early stages to avoid the high cost of cancer treatment. This is not a pretty picture for me right now.
I'm a firm believer that the government should also devise methods to make cancer treatment more accessible and affordable.
Raising awareness to help others
It is not the end of the journey for people who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I did panic at first but realized that I should stand up and find a means to get help. Look for accurate medical information, ask lots of questions, and meet with prostate cancer survivors. This has been a long journey for me, and I realize that I needed others for moral support.
I think exercise and a healthy diet can make a difference and add years to life. This journey is not over yet for me. My current efforts are focused on raising community awareness of prostate cancer, particularly among young people who don’t want to get tested.
When I heard that my cousin Diane was part of ProstateCancer.net, I reached out to her. I wanted to share my journey with her so she can let people know that if you are not feeling right, go to a doctor now and don’t wait.
What emotions have you experienced from your prostate cancer journey? (select all that apply)