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25 and at risk of prostate cancer

As a healthy, snowboarding, New Jersey Devils supporting 21 year old, Shane Bagni did not give much thought to prostate cancer.

But when he returned from school in Vancouver to his family home in Calgary in December 2015 – his parents sat him and his sister down. His father Albert then shocked them with the news that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Albert had been getting his blood checked for years because something was not right, but the news was still completely unexpected. In his case, the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test had detected high levels but a biopsy had not found cancer. Eventually, an MRI confirmed that he had cancer.

It was certainly a tough Christmas that year. Early in 2016, when Shane was back in Vancouver, his father received treatment. He was offered either radioactive seeds or surgery. After talking to his doctor and wife Brenda, a nurse who had previously worked in a hospital urology department, he decided to have surgery.

Shane was an observer given he was living in another city, but says: “I was surprised how quickly everything went. He had surgery and was more or less back to normal within a year.”

The Bagni family today. From L-R, Dad Albert, daughter Arden, Mom Brenda and son Shane

His father, now 59, has been healthy and cancer-free since his treatment, but it wasn’t an easy road. After surgery, Albert experienced complications that made his previously active lifestyle challenging. It was difficult to walk, let alone ski as he would normally be doing during the winter. Happily, he is now back to his old self, and has taken up an exercise class and yoga to maintain and build his fitness.

Shane knows that he is at higher risk because his father had prostate cancer and needs to live with that fact for the rest of his life.

He says: “It’s a scary thought and in the back of my mind a lot. But I’m not going to let it affect my day to day activities, I won’t linger on it. I know that I will get regular PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood tests to catch it early – if it happens.”

His father’s cancer means Shane has gone from being unaware and uninvolved in the prostate cancer cause to sharing information and fundraising for Prostate Cancer Canada.

He says:

“What I can do is spread the word, get donations and talk about it on social media. I’m not a researcher but I can still help advance research.”

Speaking about his hopes for the future, he says: “I’d like research to progress so diagnosis isn’t a stomach dropping moment, and then be able to move through treatment quickly once you’re diagnosed.”

Shane knows that research over the years, including research funded by PCC, has helped improve treatments and giving his father, and many others, a better chance of survival. He hope is that ongoing and future efforts will improve detection. His father’s PSA levels were high for a while, indicating something was wrong, but it took time before the cancer was diagnosed.

Shane with his parents at the 2016 Calgary Do It For Dad Walk Run

Since 2016, he has been taking part in the annual Father’s Day Do It For Dad Walk Run in Vancouver. He makes fundraising appeals on social media, giving him a chance to inform his network and get them talking about prostate cancer. He has been touched by people reaching out to let him know of their stories of family members with prostate cancer and donating to support him.

Another boost came in 2018 when Shane’s Simon Fraser University rugby team participated and donated to the Walk Run.

An early photo of Shane Bagni – born in 1994,
the same year Prostate Cancer Cancer was born as well.

Another connection Shane shares with Prostate Cancer Canada is that they both turn 25 in 2019.

His message to other sons whose dads are going through treatment is:

“There’s hope. You have a chance to have a good and noble life. I know I’m lucky because my father is back to normal – including running!”

The Do it for Dads Walk Run 5KM is a fun, family-friendly event, hosted on Father’s Day, that raises awareness and funds for the leading cancer affecting Canadian men and the families that love them. Register now!
Posted: 2019-03-04 12:36:28 PM


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