Overcoming Fear with Information

September 17th, 2013

Written by Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Vice President, Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship

Many articles and posts have discussed fear and the fact that prostate cancer will evoke this emotion in many men and their loved ones. As someone with a family history of prostate cancer, I do have fears related to prostate cancer. I do not fear dying of prostate cancer – if diagnosed, I know that I will be able to decide between an arsenal of treatment options to find the one that is best for me as an individual. It’s a decision point that is repeated in many other men. Finding the right treatment for each man at the right time is what has led to very high survival rates when prostate cancer is diagnosed at an early stage. My fear, and I think it is a valid fear shared by many men in my situation, is being diagnosed at a point when prostate cancer is no longer in its early stages and I have little or no decision to make about treatment options. To me it’s about taking control of my life and my health - knowing my risk. When fear is discussed in regard to PSA – and this might be a real issue for some – we should not forget the many, many men who have fear but whose fear is put to rest with a simple PSA blood test.

Information is a powerful means to meet and even overcome fear. Finding trusted sources of information about options at all stages of prostate cancer, from testing and diagnosis to treatment and beyond, is key. Not only can effective information help to alleviate fear, it can lead to informed decision-making. At Prostate Cancer Canada, we endeavour to provide accurate and accessible information on a variety of topics concerning prostate cancer. We invite people to visit our site and to become informed – such action can lead to empowerment, another important goal.

What is the opposite of fear? Relief. Peace of mind. Confidence. These are all things that we want for ourselves, loved ones, patients. It seems unlikely that identifying fear as a patient motivator will do anything to alleviate it, or make it any less of a call to action. Fear is real. A patient’s desire to have a wide array of treatment options as afforded by early detection is real. And that is why we have based our PSA recommendations  on maximizing choice in  treatment options, which in turn will hopefully reduce fear, increase empowerment and improve outcomes.

Bio: Dr. Stuart Edmonds joined Prostate Cancer Canada in February 2011. During his time at the organization he has spearheaded the launch of the Research Strategic Plan, providing the direction for research and survivorship activities for 2012-2015. From this plan, PCC has launched numerous new research programs based on the key pillars: Collaboration, Innovation and Talented People. Dr. Edmonds has also instituted a fair and transparent peer review process to steward and safeguard funds raised in support of prostate cancer research and to ensure that only the most promising, high quality research is funded. Prior to joining PCC Dr. Edmonds held leadership roles at the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Stuart holds a doctorate in pharmacology from Oxford University.
Posted: 2013-09-17 1:33:32 PM
Filed under: cancer, prostate, PSA, screening, test

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