Paying it forward by junk-punching cancer where it hurts

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor  Ω

One in four Canadians will die from cancer, while one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime — and every 15.6 minutes, a man dies from prostate cancer, according to the Movember Health Checklist (ca.movember.com/mens-health/).

I’ve had the unfortunate experience of losing my grandmother to a seven-year battle with ovarian cancer. Recently my father fought off prostate cancer. Thankfully he has since been given a clean bill of health.
Because of my close family ties to the war on cancers below the waist, Movember and the fight to raise awareness about prostate cancer and men’s health is one cause I hold close to my heart.

This will be my fourth year engaging in the Movember campaign. So what exactly is Movember?

Movember is an awareness campaign aimed at educating people on destructive illness and disease, specifically prostate cancer and men’s mental health. Another clear initiative for the movement is to raise funds to help advance research in these areas of men’s health.

So why the focus on prostate cancer and men’s mental health?

According to the Movember Health Checklist, there will be 26,500 new diagnoses of prostate cancer in Canada during 2012. Think that number is significant? How about this — 4,000 of those diagnosed in 2012 will eventually succumb to their cancer. The Interior Savings Centre (ISC) here in Kamloops has a seating capacity of approximately 5,500 people.

The Kamloops Blazers, the primary tenant of the rink, have an average attendance of 4,513 so far through their thus far undefeated 2012 regular season. The 4,000 men who will eventually perish at the hand of a 2012 prostate cancer diagnosis nearly fills the ISC and almost matches the average attendance for a Kamloops Blazers home game. Scary, or what?

If those numbers don’t frighten you enough, how about the alarming statistic that one in four cancer patients also experience clinical depression?

Here is where the mental health aspect of the Movember campaign comes in.

At that rate, 6,625 of the 26,500 men diagnosed in 2012 could not only be faced with prostate cancer, but could also be tasked with fighting off clinical depression along the way.

I have approached this cause with gusto in each and every year since my father was first diagnosed in 2009.

While I obviously have a close tie to the cause, I truly believe that everyone is tied to this cause.
Had there not been others out there working to raise awareness about this men’s health initiative, my father might not have been lucky enough to get an early diagnosis and successfully defeat his prostate cancer.

I might not be lucky enough to be telling you all about how I can still have a beer with my dad, or how him and I can talk about why the Calgary Flames needed to fire their coaching staff, or how the Calgary Stampeders won’t win a Grey Cup with Kevin Glenn calling the shots under centre.

I’m thankful that someone else out there had the foresight to do this work and help my dad win his war.
That sense of camaraderie is something that most people appreciate in their lives. These terrible diseases tear away this camaraderie far too often.

We need to be proactive in fighting back — in a way I may not have been prior to my dad’s diagnosis.
I try to be proactive on behalf of others in order to pay forward the hard work that contributed to my dad’s defeat of his cancer.

Whether you’re being proactive or fighting back because of some impact in your life, I hope you join me.

copy@truomega.ca