“Honey, can you take out the trash?”
“Well I would, but I have cancer.”
“Oh, come on. You’re playing the cancer card again?”
In the months leading up to my husband’s surgery for prostate cancer, we often used humor to break the tension in our home. It was such a helpless feeling, knowing that he had what we called an “alien invader” growing inside him and there was nothing we could do about it until the surgery date came. Our sense of humor helped us through this tough situation.
But when we first learned the bad news about his biopsy results, nothing seemed funny. We needed answers, and lots of them. I scoured the internet until the wee hours of the morning desperate for information. Luckily I found a valuable resource in the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Their website had a ton of information for the newly diagnosed, including the latest treatments, support groups, doctor referrals, and articles on hopeful new research.
Because both my dad and father-in-law had prostate cancer, we knew there were different treatment options including surgery, radiation, and depending on age and biopsy results, a “wait and see” approach. But suddenly dealing with it ourselves, we were confused and scared we’d make the wrong choice.
By comparing the advice from my husband’s doctors with the research we found on the Prostate Cancer Foundation website, we were able to come to the decision that surgery was the best option.
Besides help for people like my husband, the PCF aims to raise awareness. One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and though early detection is key to saving lives, getting the dreaded glove exam is something men understandably put off. After all, men aren’t as used to getting poked and prodded.
So just as it seemed odd that we made jokes about my husband’s cancer, the PCF made the unusual move of using humor to get out the message about screening. Two years ago, they released “The Prostate Czech,” a YouTube video featuring a supposed Czech national who, with latex glove on hand, would approach men in shopping malls and eateries and ask if they wanted their prostate checked!
The funny video worked. It got a public conversation going about prostate cancer, and traffic on the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s website increased by 40 percent!
For the sake of the men in your lives, I encourage everyone to check out the section on prevention.
As it turned out, we were lucky; my husband’s surgery was successful, and I’m happy to say he’s been cancer-free for five years.
Funny – I still can’t get him to take out the trash.