Mark Thompson : Break the Silence

Fear is the thing that keeps men from talking to their doctors about this disease. It’s a fear of the unknown, an apprehension about what could be found, and about what that diagnosis could mean.

People don’t want to think about not being around to experience life, or missing out on seeing their children grow up – and as a result, they choose to stay in the dark about prostate cancer. For far too long, there’s been a silence surrounding it – and silence is deadly.

Like many men, before my diagnosis I only visited the doctor when I had a problem – like a sports injury, or something specific that needed attention. I figured that since I ate well, exercised regularly, and was generally in good health – where was the need?

But I recently discovered that my father died from this disease, and when I told my doctor about my family history of prostate cancer she recommended that I get a PSA test. That proved to be a fateful decision, because the initial test revealed that my PSA levels were exceptionally high – a very strong indicator of prostate cancer. At 49, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

After a positive diagnosis I underwent a series of treatments, and they were a success. Since then my PSA levels have been undetectable. Coping with those treatments was very difficult at times – both for me, and for the people I love.
When I became a father, 10 months after my diagnosis, it added a whole other perspective on my struggle with prostate cancer. There is always a concern that my prostate cancer could return. And with every follow-up PSA test, there is the lingering thought – what if this is the time it comes back? I also worry about my son’s risk profile for the disease.

But I am determined to see my son grow up, and I want to do everything in my power to be there for him for many years to come. I take comfort in the fact that my medical team and I are monitoring the situation. I am now more proactive about my health, and the knowledge I’ve gained through my experience has given me confidence to face my health challenges head-on.

In telling my story, I want to break the silence and encourage other men to take charge of their health.

Mark Thompson

Relevant Links:
Get more information about the PSA test
Learn more about prostate cancer risk factors
Find out what's happening during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
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