Alarmingly, nearly 180,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in this year and roughly 30,000 men will die in the US, according to the American Cancer Society.
Data from the T&T Cancer Registry indicates that Prostate cancer accounts for 39% of cancer related deaths among men and is three times more common among Afro-Trinidadian men compared to Indo-Trinidadian men.
Awareness Saves Lives
National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is observed every September by health experts, health advocates and patients with the goal of – Increasing Awareness and Encourage Early Screening.
Men like Errol are so grateful they were made aware of the risks of prostate cancer, now they’re sharing their stories to pass on knowledge that could help save lives, and they want you to join them.
Because the pandemic has made it more difficult for men to easily access primary care, it’s likely that thousands more cases of prostate cancer have gone undetected. This September, World Health Organization and many other Cancer Centers have issued a Call to Action -
Let’s ensure every male knows his risk for prostate cancer!
Errol McKellar, Prostate Cancer Survivor shares his story….
“My journey with prostate cancer started in 2010. My wife was complaining about my snoring, so she made me an appointment with the doctor. I went to the doctor and whilst I sat in the reception waiting, I picked up a leaflet from Prostate Cancer UK. I read about the PSA test and thought I should probably have it done. I spoke to the receptionist to book an appointment to do the test but she said: “Mr McKellar, the test only takes 10 minutes and we can do this now for you.” Little did I know that those 10 minutes were going to change the rest of my life.”
“Two weeks after, I got a call from my doctor who asked me to come back and do another blood test. I did the test, then a further two weeks after that I was asked to come in for a biopsy, followed by a scan. My doctor then sat me down and said my prostate was covered in cancer. I ran out of the room, went and sat in the car and I think the word ‘cancer’ hit me then. I just burst into tears. Fortunately my cancer was picked up early so now I’m determined to raise awareness of the disease.”
Why is it important to talk about your health?
Errol McKellar, Prostate Cancer Survivor
Prostate cancer wasn’t a topic I even knew about, until I picked up that leaflet. And what’s even more ironic, is I found out later down the line, after my diagnosis, that my dad also had prostate cancer but he never said a word. When I tried to speak to my dad about it, he sort of brushed it off and said, “Oh I had that about five years ago”.
For me, this is something which needs to be spoken about. Because if someone in your family has prostate cancer, unfortunately that means someone else is likely to get it too. If you don’t talk about it, someone in your family might not know the importance of why they need to get tested. I feel I have a responsibility to raise awareness to not only my family but other men.
What advice would you give to other men?
My advice would be to talk and share. The information and knowledge you share with other people could help save a life without you even realising it.
Many men put off getting a prostate exam, either because they think they are not old enough to have it or because they are afraid to have one. But there’s no reason you should be afraid of a prostate exam and educating yourself about the exam can help you prepare for it.
If this narrative can be transformed, early screening will save lives.
My message to men is quite simple really.
Know your risk,
Speak to your GP and
Spread the word to others.
Prostate Cancer UK shares this Risk Calculator