Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Every male is at a potential risk in contracting prostate cancer. It is said that about one in six men will develop prostate cancer in his lifespan though only one in thirty-six of them result in dying from the disease. For men who approach the age of 80, about 80 percent of them have cancer cells in their prostate. The purpose of prostate cancer screening is to detect cancer in the early stages. If you have the knowledge and awareness of the risk factors, it helps you to determine a suitable prostate screening appointment with your doctor. Who exactly could have these risks and why?

Ever heard of the saying that age is just a number? Unfortunately, age and numbers matter the most in determining a diagnose for prostate cancer. The greatest risk factor in this debilitating disease is the age. White men after the age of 50 whose family have no prostate cancer history and black men after the age of 40 who have a close relative with the disease are at greater risk. Two thirds of men at the age of 65 and older are diagnosed with prostate cancer. The cancer acts less aggressively the older the patient is, usually when they are above 70 years old.

Family history plays an important risk factor in the development of prostate cancer. If a man has a relative in the family who had prostate cancer, the risk is weighed to be quite high. The American Society submits that the risk to getting prostate cancer is more than twice if the man’s father or brother has the disease. There is more heightened risk for having a brother that has prostate cancer than a father who is afflicted with it. If there are numerous family members affected, the risk is even  much bigger. It is recommended that screening be done at age 40 for such men. There are studies showing that prostate cancer has hereditary genes that increase the risk of prostate cancer. Only about 5 to 10 perecent make the heredity forming prostate cancer in all of the cases according to some experts.

Another risk factor is race, where African American men have 60 percent more chances of getting prostate cancer than white American men. The cancer tends to be more advanced when diagnosed too. For Japanese and African males who reside in their home country, prostate cancer is very much less prevalent. However, once they immirgate to the U.S, these statistics take a hike discernibly. Arican American males at the age of 40 make them the second group of men to be screened and tested. Diets that are high in fat, environmental issues, lack of contact with sun, heavy metal exposure like cadmium, infectious agents and smoking are probable causes according to the theories of some researchers. Until now, the variation in races are still not clearly understood.

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Some studies propose that diet is an assigned factor for prostate cancer. Countries that have a high dietary fat consumption based on meat, dairy products are more commonly strickened with the disease compared to countries where rice, soybean products and vegetables make up the staple food. The growth of prostate cancer cells is aided by saturated fats which causes testosterone production to rise.

Over the years, what is learnt is that prostate cancer have several diseases wth various causes. Slow growing tumors and more threatening and incurable cancers both have different underlying causes. For example, smoking may be a factor for advanced prostate cancer but has not been known for low risk prostate cancer factor. Similarly, men who consume less vegetables, especially in the broccoli family face higher risk of of aggressive prostate cancer but not to low risk prostate cancer.

A measure of obesity, which is the body mass index is not considered a link to a diagnose of prostate cancer comprehensively. As a matter of fact, due to the dilution of PSA in a bigger blood quantity, men with obesity have  substantially lower PSA levels than non-obese men. Tall height, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, high calcium intake, African American race and Agent Orange exposure are some examples of other aggressive risk factors to prosate cancer.

Other conditions like prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) may be linked to raised risk of prostate cancer. Under a microsope, the cells look abnormal when examined in this PIN condition. It is not fundamentally related to any symptoms. Before the age of 50, almost one half of men will be diagnosed with PIN.

There are possibilities that some genome changes where certain genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have been studied to cause prostate cancer risk to

Prostate Cancer Prevention

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As prevention is better than cure, there are several ways to hinder the development of prostrate cancer if you are concerned about it’s risks. Since there are many studies that often oppose each other and are not typically constructed to prove if something actually prevents prostrate cancer, it can be said that there is no definite answer on what is guaranteed to prevent prostrate cancer yet. If you have an interest in prostate cancer prevention, doctors in general have recommended that men with an average risk of prostrate cancer can adopt healthier choices to an overall well being. In order to decrease the possibilities of getting prostrate cancer, there are some actions you can take as a steps of prevention.

There are a few clues that suggest consuming a healthy diet that is low fat and large amounts of vegetables and fruits lower the risks of prostrate cancer. However, there is no concrete proof of this theory. Aim to select a low fat diet – foods that contain fats are foods like meat, nuts, oils and dairy products such as eggs, milk and cheese. It is shown that when high amount of fats were eaten by men each day, there was an increased risk in prostrate cancer. Although this coalition does not signify that excess fats cause prostrate cancer, there are still proven benefits such as weight management and a stronger heart by reducing fat intake.

According to the American Cancer Society, men who smoke are prone to having a reappearance of the disease. Smokers are deemed to develop prostrate cancer that is aggressive. The good news is that it is not too late to quit smoking. Prostrate cancer patients who have stopped smoking for over 10 years have reportedly shown to have the same mortality risk compared to present smokers.

 

One of the controversial prostrate cancer prevention points is exercise. Some big studies have demonstrated that exercising undoubtedly improves the general health risks in men, but it has failed to show that it actually lowers the risk of prostrate cancer. The trying explanation for this is that men who regularly work out usually end up getting tested for prostrate cancer.

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This brings early stage detection diagnoses as a result of getting screened according to a researcher, Steven C. Moore from the National Cancer Institute. This alone could cover any conceivable effects of preventive effects of exercise. When in fact, says Moore, other research proposes that exercise can ward off dangerous forms of prostrate cancer.

Some studies that are ongoing explores the different purposes of certain drugs that are linked to hormones. Proscar (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride) are among many drugs given by doctors play a role in decreasing the amount of male hormone as preventive agents for prostrate cancer. They are known to reduce the risk to a predicted figure of 23%. Enlarged prostrate are often prescribed for treating the symptoms using these drugs called 5-ARIs, a shortname for the chemical name. The U.S Food and Drug Association does not approve the drugs as cancer prevention due to studies demonstrating that patients diagnosed with prostrate cancer result in having high lethal form of the disease from taking 5-ARIs.

Finally, if you are taking supplements such as Vitamine E for prostrate cancer, think again. There are no reliable statistics showing that any other vitamin, medicinal herb, or mineral stops prostrate cancer from happening states Mark Moyad, M.D., director of preventive and alternative medicine from the Unviersity of Michigan Medical Center department of urinology.

If you are interested in how you can avoid developing prostrate cancer, talk to your doctor or health care professional about cancer prevention approaches and if they will suit and help you.

 

 

Prostate Cancer Causes

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The answers to what causes prostrate cancer is not absolute. However, there are several things that contribute the development of the condition. The prostrate is a small gland found below the bladder in a body of a man. In more common cases, the tumor in the gland grows at a slow pace and causes some health problems. In fewer and rarer cases, the cancer cells may spread outside of the prostrate gland when it becomes aggressive.

One of the leading causes to growth of cancerous cells in prostrate cancer is the mutations in your DNA or genetic material, which are the changes in the DNA of a prostrate cell. The mutations in the DNA make normal cells start to grow abnormally. This process is what forms cancer. A tumor then is developed through the growing and dividing of the abnormal and cancerous cells. When prostrate cancer becomes serious, it will depart from the original tumor and disseminate to other parts of the body.

The American Cancer Society suggests that another possibility that causes prostrate cancer is genetics where the DNA changes are inherited by parents and family history. If you have a brother or father below the age of 60 who had prostrate cancer, it raises the chances of developing prostrate cancer. According to some research, a close female relative with breast cancer may also increase the risk of prostrate cancer developing. However, mutations in DNA can also be acquired during the lifetime of a person.

One of the most convincing and striking causes of prostrate cancer in men is the age factor. Only one in 10,000 men under the age of 40 will develop prostrate cancer while that number multiplies from 1 to 14 for men in the age range of 60 to 69 according to The Prostrate Cancer Foundation. The bulk of cases reported to have been diagnosed with prostrate cancer are men over the age of 65. So it is clear that the risk goes up for men as they age older.

Race or ethnic group being one of the causes to prostrate cancer is still not fully comprehended and explained. It is founded that African American or African Caribbean men are twice more prone to being diagnosed with prostrate cancer compared to men of Caucasian descent. Asian an Latino men are reported to have the least occurrences of prostate cancer diagnoses.

Research links between diet and prostrate cancer are still unfolding with time and studies. It appears that foods rich in animal fats led to fewer vegetables, fruits and nuts intake as well. It is not confirmed if it is this lack or the higher amount of fats is the reason of escalated risk in prostrate cancer.

Some other risk factors and causes have been examined as well. However, it has not been very clear  how these are a direct cause to prostrate cancer. Obesity, smoking, some sexually transmitted disease and having vasectomy are some of these examples. A theory suspects that inflammation of the prostrate is also a threat as it damages the DNA which causes the cell to become closely cancerous. Although, there is much more to be looked and researched into this area.

Men with high levels of a hormone, insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are noted by researchers to possibly contract prostate cancer. Insulin and IGF-1 are very much alike, only that IGF-1 affects cell growth instead of sugar metabolism. On the contrary, other studies have also shown that there is no link between prostate cancer and IGF-1.

With all the different possible causes of prostrate cancer, it is no doubt that there are many factors that may be responsible for the development.

Prostrate Cancer Symptoms

It can be helpful for men to watch for signs or symptoms to detect and treat prostrate cancer in the early stages. Sadly, there are not any clear signs of warning signals. It is known that  if prostrate cancer does produces symptoms, it is only identified in the later stage. Prostrate cancer symptomps are not necessarily experienced by everyone. The symptoms of the disease can vary from one individual to another. However, there are some symptoms that could be marked as prostrate cancer. Perhaps with learning what to watch for and being aware of such symptoms and later checking with the doctor could help prevent further problems from escalating. Because the distance between the prostrate gland, bladder and urethra is quite close, there are various unrinary symptoms that accompany prostrate cancer. A tumor can cause pressure on and restrain the urethra depending on its size and location which obstructs the flow of urine.

There are several signs of prostrate cancer that are tied to urination and some of them are burning or pain during urination. The patient may also experience trouble urinating, and struggle to start and stop while urinating. There may be urges to urinate more frequently at night. The person may not be able to control the bladder. The flow and pace of urine will possibly decrease. It is possible to have blood in the urine or semen. They may also lose the ability to stand up urinating.

Painful erection and difficulty in developing an erection (erectile dysfunction) are other symptoms of prostrate cancer. Aside from urinary symptoms in the area, patients can also have swelling in legs, lower back or pelvic and less immobility in the hips, legs or feet. Constant pain in the bones that doesn’t disappear or fractures are also symptoms of the disease. Different things, including spreading of the prostrate cancer can cause the occurrence of this pain.

An enlarged prostrate gland, or secondary cancers elsewhere in the body may also be symptoms of advanced prostrate cancer. The symptoms from secondary cancers rely on the location of the secondary cancers in the body. Nonetheless, some men can experience some general symptoms such as being unusually weary than normal, typically unwell and a loss of appetite.

However, the same symptoms can appear in non cancerous conditions. For example, men who have these symptoms may also have a condition named BPH (benign prostratic hyperthropy) or an enlarged prostrate. An infection or other conditions can also cause uninary symptoms. Plus, at times there are no such symptoms existing in men with prostrate cancer. Thus, it’s important to know some of the symptoms above does not signify that you have prostrate cancer.

It is recommended to see a doctor for a checkup or further advice if you have one or more these symptoms persisting for over two weeks. The doctor will give you a diagnosis based on how long and how often the symptoms have been occuring and other related questions. A crucial part of prostrate cancer care and treatment lies in relieving the symptoms if cancer is diagnosed. This is also known as palliative care, symptom management or supportive care. If there are any new symptoms and change of symptoms, be sure to inform your health care team.

 

 

 

 

Staring Into the Pipeline

The side effects of treatment can make us doubt our personal strength. 

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I often say that there is no better time to be a prostate cancer patient–if you have to be one–than today. I believe it. I encourage many fellow patients with the idea. The pipeline, as underscored by the news coming out of this week’s ASCO meeting, is full of promising new drugs, combinative therapies and neoadjuvant (prior to primary treatment) use of new drugs that are currently being used later in disease progression.

But there are times when it is difficult to embrace the optimism.

For me, weekends can be the hardest times to believe. During the work week, we wear our “everything is fine” masks, we’re distracted by tasks and issues of the office, working hard to keep up physically and mentally and crashing when we return home, often falling into our beds early with no other option. There is little time to ponder how we feel emotionally or physically. Forward… forward… forward… There is little choice for anything else. We need to keep our lives together and strive for normalcy.

Weekends are different. Like everyone, we shift from overdrive to neutral. As patients, we can remove the masks. We hope to coast a bit, spending newly revalued time with family and loved ones and perhaps catching up on a few projects that have been put on hold for obvious reasons. But, with our weekly guard and distractions down, simple things like taking a long healthy walk, organizing the garage or planning to have friends over can hit us over the head with fatigue and pain. Tired and vulnerable, the cracks in our emotional armor can widen and turn to gushers. I find myself walking through the aisle of the supermarket trying hard to resist a tearful breakdown. It is driven, no doubt, by a near total lack of testosterone and the fact that each step makes me feel like an 85-year-old man. In the privacy of my home the emotional episodes come without warning. Physical pain overtakes will.

It’s times like these that one’s optimism for the pipeline can turn to doubt. Sure, if my disease recurs, there are more treatment options. If I become ADT resistant, there are multiple options including chemo and new drugs such as Zytiga (approved) and enzalutimide (pending approval) with Alpharadin and XL184 fast on their heels. More than 20 others are also in trials.

I believe in the pipeline. I believe overall…

Like many patients with whom I speak, my experience has taught me that I am not afraid of death. That is a matter of nature and biology. From the day we are born, it is our fate. What I am afraid of is missing those I love. That’s a matter of the heart.

I’ve always been a proponent of not putting the cart before the horse. Yet, I’ve learned it’s not always easy.

In my moments of doubt and vulnerability I wonder: should the time come when I have to stare into that pipeline of promising new treatments, will I be able to find the strength–supported by love and duty–to persevere and step up to the plate? Or, might I fail the test, tempted by an urge to let nature prevail? Others find the inner strength everyday. Would I be able to measure up?

That’s the haunting question that brings me to my emotion’s knees. It’s the dragon many of us need to slay with our swords of the heart and a battle cry of “I believe!”

Do Dogs Get Prostate Cancer? A Life Reminder

Yes, Diana… the sad answer is: they do.

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I received an email from a colleague today. She had taken a voice mail from a middle school girl asking if dogs can be diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was sure they do. Cats and other animals get it. But, to be absolutely sure, I doubled checked my data banks using a quick Google search. Sure enough, the screen populated with numerous links to information about dogs and prostate cancer.

What I didn’t know is that cancer is the leading cause of death in canines over the age of two.

But that isn’t what gave me pause. What made me stop and think was the reminder that all animals, human or otherwise, are living organisms. We live in complex biological systems that can go awry for any number of reasons. This small reminder of what I already embrace, was surprisingly comforting. But we humans, because of our ability to think and reason in advanced ways, sometimes tend to let cancer take over our lives in paralyzing ways.

We build expectations that don’t always take biological realities into account. We become tied to futures we envision and often shut out the possibility of unexpected disruptions, no matter what physical speed bump or detour might present itself.

I am not suggesting that we give up on living life with dreams and expectations. I guess I’ve just come to realize the life might be easier in some ways if we sometimes remind ourselves that our bodies and nature might not always be able to keep pace with the demands we set for ourselves.

This thought underscores what I have heard many survivors say: we need to live in the moment.

Carpe diem.

HRC Update: 67 Home Runs, $800,000 to Date

Heading into Father’s Day, it’s not too late to join the fun and help Keep Dad in the Game.
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Trade out one frivilous expense this weekend and help Keep Dad in the Game by making a pledge for the 18th Annual Home Run Challenge.

 

Every 10 cent pledge and every home run is making a difference in our fight against prostate cancer. After just three days of counting home runs for the 18th Annual Home Run Challenge, Major League Baseball hitters have tallied 67 home runs each worth about $12,000. That’s a whopping $800,000+ to move us closer to a cure and prolonging life for millions of men.

Here’s some perspective: $800,000 is enough to fund nearly four Young Investigators for three years or a Creativity Award to get innovative research off the launch pad. On the other side of the spectrum, a 10 cent pledge with say, a total of 160 home runs, is just a $16 donation–less than a trip to the movies or a fast food meal for three. As a survivor, I might be a bit biased on which of these expenditures represents the best investment. But it’s pretty hard to argue for fast food or butted popcorn and the latest action flick when we can save lives with just one easy diversion of our weekly expenditures.

As I said, every 10 cent pledge and every home run is making a difference in our fight against prostate cancer. Please consider being part of that difference for so many. Visit the Home Run Challenge website before Father’s Day and help us Keep Dad in the Game.

Wishing every Father out there a Happy Father’s Day and abundant health.

Ximending hotels

Taipei, Taiwan is a very popular tourist destination in Asia. You can find a fusion between heritage and modernity in this little Island situated next to China. Find anything from former world tallest building Taipei 101  or tribal and mountainous area in Kaohsiung.

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Taipei is the capital of Taiwan.  Generally, you will want to stay in Ximending area of Taipei as this is one of the hub in Taiwan. Treat Ximending as the equivalent of Manhattan in New York City.  You can find anything from fashion, shopping, restaurant, street foods and many more. To sum it, Ximending is one of the most happening area in in Taiwan.

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Accommodation Guide in Ximending

There are plenty of good hotels that you can find in Ximending. Accommodation can be a little more expansive here as compared with the rest of Taiwan. As a rule of thumb. Accommodation starts from 50 dollars onward where you will get hostel or dorm category. Things get more luxurious from 100 dollars onward.

Westgate Hotel

Westgate is possibly one of the most recomended hotel in Ximending. This is probably your choice if there are no budget issues. This 121 rooms hotel is conveniently located just a few step away from Ximen MRT station.  There are also convenient stores such as Watson located nearby Prices can be a little steep starting from 150 dollars onward.

Hotel Midtown Richardson

This hotel is brand new. The reviews are not too bad for a new kid on the block. Hotel is rather dark with ambient light settings. They are giving huge discounts at the time of writing

Dairy of Ximen (Taipei)

This hotel is a good choice especially for those with mid range budget. This hotel is also very quite popular among people who frequently travels to Taipei.

Just Sleep Ximending

Just sleep is also a popular choice amongst tourist. This hotel is also very near to Ximen MRT station. Staffs are very helpful.

City Inn Taipei (Ximending)

City Inn is a popular hotel chains in Taiwan. City Inn Ximending is situtuated inside Ximending so you may want to book the right hotel. Rooms are clean funky and modern. This hotel is situation just next to exit 3 Ximeding. There are choices from Standard to large family room.

Amba Taipei Ximen

This hotel is located just at Wuchang Street, Ximending. There are 162 rooms in this hotel while it’s just 5 minutes walk away from Ximen station. Hotel is wooden based concept where it is design by Muji concept.

Good 9 Stay Inn

Good 9 stay is a popular choice if you have lower budget. Staffs are extremely helpful and friend. Rooms are clean and comfortable.

Free free to visit  http://ximendinghotel.com/ for hotel guide in Ximending area.

 

 

Refractory Period

I had never heard of the Refractory Period for cancer patients until last week. Now I believe it is important to anticipate it.  

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Last week, I participated in a patient and survivor panel for MOVEMBER representatives from around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting Jonny Imerman, founder of Imerman Angels. He’s a terrific cancer survivor filled with enough energy, love and encouragement for any number of cancer patients.

During the panel, Jonny spoke of the refraction period. As Jonny puts it, cancer’s prism bends and forever changes us. We are the same beam, of light yet forever changed. It is a strong emotional experience that leaves many, once they are on the other side of their journey, in a prolonged refractory period. As in sex, where the refractory period is the time in which a man is physiologically incapable of having an erection and orgasm again, a prolonged emotional refractory period can render some patients incapable of finding calm, moving forward and living life without cancer.

Paul Elkman, PhD, an acclaimed psychologist who retired as a professor from UCSF in 2004, has written many books on emotions, including one based on conversations with the Dalai Lama. It is entitled Emotional Awareness. Elkman refers to the refractory period as how long it takes for a person to come back to a quiet baseline condition of calm after being provoked by an emotion. Often, this is a short period such as one might go through following a fit of rage. But, for those who have experienced a prolonged period of being provoked by emotions–say several years of battling cancer–the period can understandably last a while. InEmotional Awareness, Elkman writes: “Once the emotional behavior is set off, a refractory period begins in which we are not only not monitoring, we cannot reconsider. We cannot perceive anything in the external world that is inconsistent with what we are feeling. We cannot access the knowledge we have that would disconfirm the emotion…” To me, it sounds like all the necessary ingredients for a downward emotional spiral just when one would think we should be in a state of euphoria.

Jonny and I spoke of the refractory period following the conclusion of the panel and I asked him to contribute a personal piece on it. Forewarned is forearmed. I think you will find it interesting.

The Refraction Period of the cancer journey– “What the hell is that!!?” you ask… The Refraction Period is one of the most under talked-about parts of the cancer journey.

My name is Jonny Imerman and I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 26 years old, beat it at 27, and then the docs found four tumors behind my kidneys by the time I was 28 years old. By 29, I beat cancer again–the whole journey was about two and a half years. Along the way there was a lot of chemo, surgeries, probably infertility, wacky side effects, and other unusual stuff that I sure wasn’t expecting in my 20s.

Of course, it’s challenging to get though all the treatments, but the survivors out there know just as well as I do–you have no other option!  You do it, smile as much as you can, laugh as much as you can (testicular cancer guys like me get plenty of “one ball” nicknames – people are creative!!!), stay as positive as you can, and do whatever it takes to get to that 26.2 mile finish line!

Now, for the Refraction Period… It’s that period of time AFTER you cross the finish line. After you beat cancer. Trying to build back up.  Emotionally.  Physically.  Getting back in the gym. Trying to feel strong.  Trying to feel confident.  Wondering if anyone would actually want to date you after all that.  Trying to figure out who the hell you are after all that chaos and all those shenanigans. Trying to figure out your values, your morals, where you want to spend your time-and with whom.  The way you look at life.  What you want to do with your life.  How you feel about helping others, and making the world a better place.  In short–having completed the journey and being affected by it, figuring out what you really are about.

It feels like everything has shifted.

The Refraction Period is trying to figure all this stuff out after cancer.

It’s friggin HARD.  REALLY HARD.  And most people never expect it.  They go into it completely blind, making it even harder. It can cause depression.

Why is it called the Refraction Period?  Picture a beam of light going in a straight line. That light is you and your life. You think your life is moving straight forward.  Then, shit – you get cancer! All of the shenanigans of the cancer experience knock you off your rocker!  Then, this beam of light is “refracted” let’s say, 25 degrees to the left and on a different trajectory. Cancer refracts us and we’re no longer going in the same straight line.  It’s our job to figure out what all this means.  It’s not easy. It is a life-changing experience.

But, I believe STRONGLY that after we get through this refraction period – sometimes lasting a few months and sometimes 2 or 3 years – that life’s beam of light is on a BETTER trajectory.  I believe that we become better people after cancer. We have stronger, if not new values. We have learned a BIG lesson about the fragility of life, and through our hard mental and emotional work during the refraction period we become better people. We are more committed to being kinder and working together to make this world a better place.

The #1 way to get through the refraction period is to CONNECT with others who understand–survivors who are going through it also, or better yet, those like you who have been there but have come out the other side and landed on top.  And there is a “top.” I believe I became a better person through my cancer experience and consequent struggle through the refraction period.  My reflection and challenges through this period have helped me see the world and what I want out of it in a much clearer way.

The key again is: connect with others who understand and empathize. TOGETHER we are stronger.  I wish each of my fellow brothers and sisters going through cancer and refraction ALL of my very best- and the ability to find the positive in this very challenging, and often myopic journey.

Love and light- Jonny Imerman

Having read Jonny’s piece I was reminded of what it was like when my wife and I returned after living in the Netherlands for almost three years. The experience changed us forever. It did indeed feel as if everything had shifted. There was a sense of alienation as even good friends had trouble relating to us and our changed frame of reference, new values and new preferences. I can only imagine that returning from the journey with cancer can be exponentially more difficult.

As I said… forewarned is forearmed. Jonny’s insight is an important trip advisory for those of us who have not yet come out the other side. For those readers who have, I wonder what your experience with the refractory period was like?

On the Importance of Getting Patients and Scientists Together

This past weekend in Washington has this guy–yes, ME–speechless.

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It’s not often that I find myself searching for words. Thirty-two years as a communicator and someone whose personality tends toward the highly effusive, I am surprised that I find myself having difficulty putting into words, the transformational experience I just had in Washington D.C. with PCF scientists and a group of patient-survivors. From where I sit, I often have one arm fully extended into the patient-survivor world and the other in the vast and often dense world of scientific research and discovery. In the middle, I try to share information and insights that marry the two.

As part of the Celebration of Science (an event focused on reinvigorating America’s support for scientific research to find cures for patients across many disease states) and PCF’s program within the event, I led a small group of patient-survivors so that they could see first hand the advances that are being made on their behalf. It was also an opportunity to thank our funded researchers and let them hear from those who deeply appreciate their commitment to finding cures. I also had the honor of opening the PCF program Friday with a tribute to our special guests and closing it as we ”passed the torch” to out nearly 100 Young Investigators. In the morning, I reminded our scientists that each man on the stage represented more than a million men and families around the world who are touched by prostate cancer–that they are our raison d’etre–our sole reason for being. In closing, I ended by saying those in the brotherhood can supply each other with encouragement for peace and strength, but that we need to look to our scientists to keep the wish of life alive for so many.

Through all of this, our small group of  guests had the opportunity to share their experiences, frustrations, fears and hopes that they have encountered during their journey with cancer. We were also joined by our dear friends, the Vinecki Family and that wonderfully impressive 13-year old, Winter Vinecki, who  helped me with our meeting and addressed the audience at the Kennedy Center Gala Saturday evening.

This all said, I am still having difficulty trying to encapsulate the experience. Thus, I will rely on some of my friends to paint the picture. Jim Highly, also known as the Bobblehead Dad, was diagnosed as a single dad at 44 years old (and some still insist on calling this an old man’s disease…). This morning Jim wrote a perspective on his weekend experience: Making Whoopi. And Why Bioscience Matters for Our Kids.

“We will talk about this week-end for years to come… because it will impact the world and its status quo!” –Rick D.

“I walked away with comfort, peace, hope but most importantly a warm and caring group of brothers that I look forward to meeting with again and again. Words cannot explain how blessed I am.” –Bill M. No. 1.

“It was very helpful to me. And, to all my other Brothers… it was a pleasure meeting all of you. I truly enjoyed our time together. It was a meaningful, helpful and fun experience for me.” –Bill M. No. 2

“Prostate cancer is a journey so many men walk alone. This weekend was an incredible reminder of the strength, power and potential us guys have when speak loudly, ask for support, hug it out, and walk the walk together.” –Jim H.

“It will be difficult to top the ‘mountaintop experience’ of the past few days. And the pinnacle of this time together was the privilege of getting to know–and bond–with each of you.” –Craig P.

“I was very pleased to have been able to contribute and grateful for the chance to give something back for all the blessings I have been given. Looking into the eyes of those men drives me to do much much more…”  — Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, former Director of the NCI and former Commissioner fo the FDA

“The weekend surprised my soul. Plus, I understood a lot of the science! The bond that I already feel toward everyone in the group has sent this often cynical guy into an orbit of optimism. I have a new problem: I am drowning in dopamine. Good experiences, laughter, knowledge, and, obviously, chicken come with a healing capacity that pills and drips can only dream they possess.” –Tom P.

Of course, I would have loved to have 200 hundred patient-surviors at this event, but that would have been impossible. However, we were able to film a good deal of the proceedings and will be producing a patient-focused documentary that I will post later this fall. I am deeply grateful to our guests who so willingly allowed themselves to be filmed and who shared their personal and heartfelt experiences to help other patients and families. I am also grateful to my friend and cancer mentor, Trip Casscells, who opened his home to us on Saturday for our Men’s Retreat.

The Brotherhood remains strong. Our scientists remain committed to our cause. Together we will find cures.