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So why the reluctance to get screened when prostate can- cer is the most common form of cancer among men?


Dan Zenka, senior vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (www.pcf.org) states in a recent article titled: Ladies: Check Your Prostates: “Throughout the ages, men have been taught that they must be strong, virile hunters, gathers and defenders of their families. Over time, this societal mandate has ingrained a false sense of invincibility, one that exempts them from having to pay attention to their physical ills or seeing their doctors for annual checkups. The same pressure often leads them to feel extremely vulnerable and reluctant to discuss their self-perceived weaknesses when diagnosed with health problems—especially those that lie below the belt.”


Besides the ‘self-perceived weakness’, a “lack of knowl- edge is a big part of the problem,” says David. “Creat- ing awareness of men’s health issues, including prostate cancer, has now become a very important part of my life.”


David Dodd (above left) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 at age 64. “I owe my life to my wife,” says David with a smile. “She kept urging me to get checked and persisted until I did it. She’s the reason I am alive today.”


“The women in a man’s life can be critically important in getting him to walk down the path toward a diagnosis,” says Dr. Robert A Stephenson, professor in the Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, at the University of Utah School of Medicine and an investigator at Hunts- man Cancer Institute.


“Men seem to have a general reluctance to address areas of health and wellness,” explains Dr. Stephenson. “Men may feel that health problems may happen to the other guys, but certainly not to me.”


The truth is that prostate cancer affects one of every six American men. And those with family history of the disease or who are African American, have an increase in odds to one out of three.


6 Utah Cancer Connections


A year after David’s diagnosis he learned about a local support group for men provided by the American Cancer Society and became an active participant. “Man to Man is a place where we can meet as guys and discuss things openly. Our group is very supportive and even wives at- tend the meetings.”


“Man to Man is an incredible educational program that helps men cope with prostate cancer by offering infor- mation and support for patients and their family mem- bers,” said Barbara Bassett, Quality of Life Manager for the American Cancer Society in Salt Lake City. “A core component of the program is the free monthly support group organized by our wonderful volunteers, so patients and caregivers can have a safe place to share their pros- tate cancer experiences and challenges.”


It was at one such meeting that David was introduced to Valerie Donahue, a local Abbott rep, and discussions began about increasing local awareness regarding men’s health issues. John Merryweather, also a prostate cancer survivor, joined their “Men’s Health” committee shortly thereafter and together created the Stampede for Men’s


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