My Husband Had Prostate Cancer and All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt

When my husband came home from the doctor with the news that he needed a biopsy to rule out prostate cancer, I was instantly worried. Not about the test coming back positive, rather about him becoming a basket case, obsessed with fear that he might have cancer. I couldn’t wait until he got the happy call and we could return to our normal lives.

I even minimized his concerns, “People get biopsies all the time and they usually come back negative. Besides, only old guys get prostate cancer.”

Turned out, I was wrong.

Not only was the biopsy incredibly painful (in fact, more so than any treatment to follow), the results were not the negative ones I had so confidently predicted.

When the doctor uttered the “c” word, I was in more shock than my husband. He had already accepted his fate. I, on the other hand, was dumbfounded and even suspicious, like the time my dentist told me I needed a crown right after he boasted about purchasing a new boat.

The doctor described the different types and stages of prostate cancers and how it’s not just one cancerous tumor, but actually a cluster of tumors. He went over treatment options and emphasized that prostate cancer was unusual in that it could essentially be “cured” by removing the prostate gland entirely with surgery.

I turned to my husband, expecting to see a shared look of relief, but there was none. Apparently, after the word, “cancer,” he had completely tuned out.

I understood that learning one has cancer is shocking news, but with this cancer and his particular case, it was totally treatable. Sure, the prostate gland, located just north of the penis, is in a pretty sensitive area and the surgery would result in some pain, but my husband was in good shape and would likely heal quickly, I figured.

What I wasn’t grasping at the time was just how fond men are of their penises. The very thought of something sharp coming close to it or the idea that something might interfere in any way with the way it functions, is to most men, terrifying.

But I didn’t get that then. I honestly believed that all he needed was a day or two to realize that this cloud had a great silver lining. Yes, he had cancer, but he would be fine. I was sure that my positive approach could eventually snap him out of it.

As he started to drive out of the parking structure I could tell he was looking for the exit. “It’s over there,” I said.

“Really? Are you sure?” he barked. “Because you were pretty sure my test would be negative and look how that turned out!”

Okay, clearly he needed more time.

After breaking the news to friends and family, my husband realized he was not alone. Everyone seemed to have a a relative who recently had prostate cancer. My dad had had it. His dad had had it. John Kerry, Joe Torre and Robert DeNiro had it. Fortunately, all the stories ended well.

We quickly became prostate cancer experts. I assumed that the more we knew and the more stories he heard with positive outcomes, my husband’s fears would be assuaged. I wouldn’t allow him to dwell on the negatives or worry. If he did, I’d quickly swoop in with an uplifting stat like that the fifteen year survival rate can be as high as 92%.

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“I’ve had my mustache for over 30 years, but I completely support prostate cancer awareness,” said David Carlton. “I had my first exam at age 50, and it may have saved my life.”


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Tom Gammill is the mascot Mr. Roughrider at Yavapai College. He also performs as Teddy Roosevelt at the Living History Arizona Roughrider Historical Society. He is one of the oldest surviving heart transplant patients, going on 22 years, who is now dealing with prostate cancer.


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Major prostate cancer breakthrough thanks to simple test which shows if a man has the aggressive form of the disease

  • There are higher levels of the protein NAALADL2 in aggressive tumours
  • Finding means doctors can identify those tumours that are likely to pose a deadly threat and which need to be tackled with intensive treatment
  • Currently the aggressiveness of a tumour can only be loosely identified meaning some patients have debilitating treatment that is not necessary

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Movember messaging: getting to the bottom of prostate cancer testing

“The Movember campaign, which encourages men to grow moustaches each November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, has helped raise the profile of prostate cancer. Statistics such as “one in eight Australian men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime” provide men with an impetus to see their general practitioner (GP) and get tested for prostate cancer.

That’s good, right? Well, not quite. Not all men should be tested for prostate cancer. In fact, for some men, it can do more harm than good.

Testing for cancer

Testing for prostate cancer involves the use of two tests which can be done individually or in combination: the digital rectal examination (DRE) and the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.

The DRE was commonly used as a front-line test for prostate cancer before the PSA test became available in the early 1990s. Use of the DRE in testing for prostate cancer is limited, since it is impossible to examine the entire prostate gland due to the anatomical location of the prostate gland itself.

Given the limitations of the DRE, the PSA test is commonly used as the front-line test for prostate cancer. PSA is a protein that is made in the prostate gland and can be measured via a blood test to assist in diagnosing prostate disease.

The PSA test is not cancer specific, as a raised PSA level may also be indicative of a benign growth of the prostate gland or an inflammation of the prostate gland.

How effective is the PSA?”

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Philippine update: Prostate Cancer

So I finally found something in the local media about prostate cancer.

Here are some of the points mentioned in the article:

  • PROSTATE cancer is one of the most common cancers in men around the world. Death from prostate cancer occurs every one and a half minute and a new case of prostate cancer is detected every two minutes.
  • Prostate cancer usually is slow growing and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where no symptoms are produced.
  • The risk of developing prostate cancer increases as a man ages. The average age at diagnosis is between 65 and 70; the average age at death is between 77 and 80.
  • Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that there may be an inherited or genetic factor.
  • In the Philippines, 4,254 cases were discovered, with 2,571 deaths in 2005. It is the 6th leading cause of cancer overall and the 4th leading cause of cancer in men. (Letran et al, Phil Journal of Urology 2005).
  • The numbers of newly-diagnosed prostate cancer in the Philippines is increasing. As with any cancer, early screening means early detection thus offering higher treatment success rates.
  • The Philippine Urological Association recommends prostate cancer screening in men aged 40 and above, especially for those who have a history of prostate cancer in the family.
  • Once prostate cancer is suspected, a prostate biopsy is the next step. This is usually performed by the urologist and biopsies nowadays are done under ultrasound guidance.