two men stand around a BBQ having a fireside chat about prostate cancer

A Fireside Chat Among Men

I had a cookout at my home, and the conversation came up about prostate cancer. My father was there, who has dealt with prostate cancer. I learned so much just listening to my family and friends talk about their fears of getting checked.

Why worry about prostate cancer?

Most of them talked about just not wanting to know; why worry about something if it’s not affecting you? Plus, not many in their family had had it. I wanted to chime in and say, it's still possible for you to get it. There are family members that don't share their medical history with everyone.

The topic came up about leakage and diagnosis. As for leakage, I think it can be good to speak to your doctor about this. Of course, you might be scared, which is normal. But many men have prostate cancer or side effects and are still able to live good lives.

Some people in life will say they are just too busy to get checked, but are you too busy to keep living? Most of us have family, friends, and a job. Go get checked; it could even become a yearly family thing. I would be the first one to say that I’m not a fan of doctors, having seen them for many years. The one thing I do know is that they can save a life. Find a doctor that you mesh with and who gets you.

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Who might be at risk

Someone at the cookout spoke about their wife and kids, who can’t live without them. If you’re scared, share that with them and start educating the people in your circle. What might your family do without you?

I think that with any illness we just don’t want people to know what is going on. Especially the words that "you have cancer." Just remember that catching it early can be key.

One thing that caught my ears in this conversation was genetic testing. I had never thought about this, but it seems to be a great idea since my kids’ grandfather has prostate cancer.

Something we do know is that you are at risk of prostate cancer if you are a man. Sadly, Black men are more at risk, and if you have a close relative that got it, you could be more at a risk.

A very common cancer

I did add my two cents to this conversation and let them know the importance of early detection. It can be important to get checked and know the numbers, particularly with PSA levels. My father gets his PSA test and an annual checkup every year. He was diagnosed at age 72 and is now 90 and going strong.

One question that was asked of me at the cookout is why the awareness level for prostate cancer feels so low. I really didn’t have an answer for that. But I do want to leave this bit of information with you: prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers for men and among the leading causes of cancer death for men.1

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