Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition
Statistics show that 1 in 6 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. The risk for developing the disease rises with age, being most prevalent among men over the age of 60. However, the risk begins to rise after 40 and prevailing medical thought is men should get at a minimum a PSA test (a blood test that can detect prostate cancer) or if possible a digital rectal exam as well around the age of 40. This will provide an early warning if there are worrisome findings on either study that will afford the patient more options for treatment that are much less traumatic and much more likely to be successful than if the cancer is found at a more advanced stage.
Ken shared his own story about how he was found to have a lump on his prostate on an insurance exam but was not actually recommended to have a biopsy until roughly a year later. At that point it was found he did, in fact, have prostate cancer and that it was a more advanced stage. He ended up having a radical prostatectomy, followed by a recurrence of the cancer. To fight the recurrence of the cancer he underwent radiation therapy and more surgeries. After all of that it was found his PSA levels were rising yet again, prompting his physicians to recommend hormone therapy to slow the progress of the cancer.
After his challenging experiences he began to work to increase awareness of the value of early detection of the disease to help his male counterparts avoid having to undergo similar difficulties. He interfaced with the American Cancer Society to lobby for increased information for men about the risks of prostate cancer and the benefits of early detection. He spent some time as a spokesman for the American Cancer Society. He ultimately co-founded the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition, a non-profit organization aimed at creating community awareness as well as raising funds to help provide screening (including some free PSA testing) for men in the community. The organization also collaborates with community businesses to help them provide prostate cancer screening for their male employees.
In speaking with Ken it’s clear that we men can do ourselves a big favor and go to our primary care physician or one of the screening events held by the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition to get a PSA test done and ideally, couple that with a digital rectal exam. If our lot in life is to be a prostate cancer patient, we can have a large impact on what our journey is like in dealing with it if we endeavor to catch it early.
Ken Stevens, Co-founder of Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition