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Behind the Headlines-22

Us TOO FLORENCE - BEHIND THE HEADLINES-22
BY BOB HORNEY - PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR - Us TOO CHAPTER LEADER
(Published September 8, 2015, The Siuslaw News)

September means it is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month as Proclaimed by the President of the United States. It is the one month devoted to raising awareness of the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in American males today and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Prostate cancer is certainly worthy of this attention with an estimated 220,800 men in the U.S. being diagnosed with it in 2015 and approximately 27,540 losing their lives to the disease. The numbers for Oregon are approximately 3,110 and 420, respectively.
As critical as the national campaign is, Us TOO Florence tries to make prostate cancer awareness a never ending, month after month campaign in Florence, Oregon. We know from experience that prostate cancer never sleeps. One or more newly diagnosed men attend nearly every meeting with over 170 men with prostate cancer having sought information and support from our group during our 14 year existence. Unfortunately, over 30 of those men were diagnosed too late and have succumbed to the disease.
We wholeheartedly carry out the mission of Us TOO International which is to provide hope and improve the lives of those affected by prostate cancer through support, education and advocacy/awareness. We want men and spouses/loved ones to see us for the information, personal experiences and support we offer - unconditionally, with no strings attached. We are a very welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental group, understanding totally that whatever a man decides to do is the right decision for him.
For those who reach out to us by attending an Us TOO Florence meeting... First of all, there will be time before the meeting starts to visit with survivors/spouses. This time offers a great chance to find out how these men responded to their diagnosis of prostate cancer, as in Active Surveillance or Active Treatment. If treated, find out their chosen course of treatment, why they chose it and the results. Since these are personal choices, there will be different treatments chosen, for different reasons and with differing results. All this for the same disease - prostate cancer.
Men attending an Us TOO Florence meeting will NOT find anyone telling them what to do. We survivors share our experiences, the urologists share the pros and cons of the individual's viable options (based on his disease stage at diagnosis) and the individual then takes all that information and decides what he wants to do. Every man must make that decision for himself. Every one of us who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer has followed the same path of information gathering leading to a decision. It is a tough road to traverse, but it can be made considerably easier using the resources of Us TOO Florence and we stand ready to help.
Now, for the men who have chosen to forgo the prostate cancer screening PSA blood test, Us TOO Florence does have a recommendation - get at least one test to establish a baseline at age 40 or ASAP thereafter. A PSA at that age is very likely a "true" PSA, that is, unaffected by conditions related to older age. One advantage of the baseline PSA is that if problems or symptoms arise later, there will be a PSA in your records to measure the new results against. Of course, the baseline does on occasion identify a man who is already at risk of having prostate cancer and needs to proceed to a biopsy for that determination...a potentially life-saving advantage.
Us TOO Florence will be celebrating Prostate Cancer Awareness Month with a booth at the Boardwalk Market each Saturday and Sunday during September.

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