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Reporter’s cancer diagnosis inspires important conversation

    
Vancouver Sun reporter Larry Pynn, recently diagnosed with prostate cancer

This past month, Vancouver Sun reporter Larry Pynn found out that he is the 1 in 9 men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. His diagnosis sparked a determination to drive awareness to the most common cancer affecting men in Canada. Pynn released a five-part series in the Vancouver Sun, touching on topics from diagnosis and the PSA test, to sexual health and healing after treatment.

In his first article Larry reveals his own experience, while discussing the realities of the disease with experts including Prostate Cancer Canada’s Dr. Stuart Edmonds, and Vancouver Prostate Centre’s Dr. Larry Goldenberg and Dr. Martin Gleave. The article ends with a hopeful and poignant sense of how many men feel after being told they have prostate cancer:

“The path ahead may not be clear, but I accept it with a renewed sense of purpose and passion for life, for however long that might be.” – Larry Pynn

Larry’s second article touches on the controversy over the PSA test. Responses to the article showed that Canadians are passionate about early detection: On Prostate Cancer Canada’s Facebook page, close to 1,000 people commented with their experience, shared the post with their friends and family or reacted to it. Several commenters express that the PSA test saved their life and urge others to have a baseline test done.

Many others voiced their desire for both BC and Ontario governments to begin funding the PSA test: “This needs to be changed! Prostate cancer is too important for all tests not to be covered!” shared one follower. Exclaimed another reader, “$25 – what’s that – the price of a case of beer?... This test saved my life.”

Others compared government funding of the PSA test to mammogram screening: “Governments cover the cost of mammograms at a much higher cost than a simple PSA blood test. As a 22+ year survivor of prostate cancer I know that the PSA saved my life.”

The ups and downs of prostate cancer and research are explored in Larry’s third article. Larry speaks to doctors about hereditary predispositions to prostate cancer, including  men who carry BRCA2 gene mutations. Some researchers are focusing on finding better treatment for men with predispositions to the disease.

An uncomfortable, but especially important, commentary in the series is Larry’s article on intimacy and sex following prostate cancer treatment. Prostate cancer is often seen only as a man’s disease, but what often goes unacknowledged is that partners of men with the disease are also affected. Erectile dysfunction is a common and life-altering side effect for many men who go through treatment.

Another area many don’t discuss is how prostate cancer continues to affect men into older age, something Larry addresses in his last article in the series. Can anyone completely turn their backs on cancer, even once treatment is over? It’s a question Larry asks as he explores growing older with side effects of treatment.

Perhaps the most important outcome of Larry Pynn’s series is that more people might understand the disease better. Knowledge is power, and we hope this discussion will continue. We hope that more people like Florina Young’s husband will be armed with the knowledge to start a conversation with their doctor. Florina commented on Facebook: “I just handed the phone to my husband and he now has an appointment to be checked. Thank you for sharing.”

So please, continue to share this important information with your friends and family.

“If such a disease can have a silver lining, it is the fact that it causes you to re-examine your life, how you can be a better person, how you can improve your lifestyle, how to give your body a fighting chance.” – Larry Pynn


Related Links:
PSA Testing
Prostate cancer research
Intimacy after prostate cancer

 
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Posted: 2018-06-04 10:28:23 AM
Filed under: british, columbia, psa, research, sexuality


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