When we recently lost golf legend, Arnold Palmer, I thought of a few things. As a former, often two to three-time weekly golfer myself, I thought of the command and humor he brought to the course, his competition and friendship with Jack Nicklaus. I thought, like many of you, of the drink named for him, and I thought about the commercials he has been frequenting with other celebrities.
Another thought I had about Arnold Palmer that you may not have had, a fact you may not have been aware of, I recalled that this famous golfer was a prostate cancer survivor.
I have not written any men’s health articles in this column to date, and that is probably an error in judgement on my part. In this month where breast cancer is getting all of the attention, I know that when we move on to prostate awareness it will not get close to the amount of attention. It is a much more difficult conversation and that makes it harder for men to have the conversation with their doctors.
If I tell you about some survivors of prostate cancer then perhaps I will encourage you, any man 40 or older, to simply ask the question, “doctor, should I be tested?” Should I have a PSA test? After all, Ben Stiller had a PSA test and it saved his life. Didn’t it? What will save your life is asking. Let’s check it out.
Robert De Niro was treated for prostate cancer in 2003. In 1999, with no symptoms, Joe Torre, the former manager of the Yankees learned that he had an extremely aggressive form of the disease. Opting for a prostatectomy, Joe beat prostate cancer.
From a high PSA test, Colin Powell learned he had prostate cancer. He was monitored until after 2 biopsies he was discovered to need surgery. He made a full recovery. From Nelson Mandella to John Kerry, the list of men who have survived prostate cancer, and the way they discovered and treated their cancer is long and varies.
Prostate cancer grows very slowly and, a majority of men are approximately 65 when they are diagnosed with the disease. Most of these men do not die of prostate cancer. So, you need to ask your doctor if you need that screening. Not everyone will need the screening, or you may not need it today, but you need to ask.
Prostate Screening Toolbox
Asking is hard, here is a Prostate Risk Tool
There are things you can do today to decrease the chances of prostate cancer. These four lifestyle choices may keep you cancer free and will also promote healthy living:
- Smoking: If you smoke now, quit.
- Drinking: No or moderate drinking. Two or fewer drinks a day.
- Diet/Weight: Maintaining a Body Mass Index between 19 and 25.
- Exercise: A moderate exercise program totalling 150 minutes per week.
This is not ALL of the news you can use, but I hope I have planted the seed, I hope I got you thinking. Now that we are at the end, I ask you as your Chronically Awesome friend, and cancer survivor: pick up your phone and make a doctor appointment now.
For more information about Prostate Cancer, you can visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation
Thank you VeryWell.com and Cancer.org
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