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A daughter on why all dads need the PSA test

Kate Black cherishes the memory of dancing with her dad at her wedding in December 2017 to The Barenaked Ladies’ “If I had a Million Dollars.” A strange choice to some, but it represented their relationship. It was Kate’s last dance with her dad Greg – he was lost to prostate cancer three weeks later.

“He was always the rock in our family,” Kate says. “We were really close when I was growing up, and especially into my adult years. He was my soccer coach for my entire life, so I was a bit of a daddy’s girl as well as the coach’s daughter.”
Kate with her dad

Kate’s brother, dad and Kate

When Greg was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer at 59 in 2017, Kate and her family were in shock. Nothing suggested he was sick. He was active, playing soccer and hockey, and involved in local community organizations.

“My brother and I had been encouraging him for quite some time to go get his annual checkup and the PSA test. With all the awareness that our generation has been exposed to around prostate cancer, it was something we always encouraged him to be careful of, as we have a family history,” Kate says.

"We pushed him and said, ‘This is something we need you to do as our dad."

Because the cancer had spread to Greg’s bones, he was treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy, and eventually received a radiopharmaceutical drug, Radium 223. Initial results from the drug were positive, but unfortunately, his cancer had progressed too far and he passed away December 22, 2017.

“Finding out about his diagnosis was hard, but going through the therapies was harder. He started to change physically. I think because he was such a pillar in our family and always in such great shape, to see him knocked off his feet was hard.”

Three weeks to plan a wedding

Kate and her husband always knew they would get married. They had originally planned for a late winter wedding in 2018, but when Greg received troubling test results, they decided to move it up to ensure he could attend.

“I just said, ‘We’re getting married and I’m not doing this without you,’ so he got on board pretty quickly,” she says. “We planned a wedding in three weeks. Which was a little bit chaotic, but I wouldn’t have changed anything.”

If I had a Million Dollars was one of the songs that Kate and her dad enjoyed together. He regularly hosted dance parties after dinner with friends and family, and so Kate chose it as her father-daughter dance at her wedding. “He actually walked me down the aisle, and we got to have our father-daughter dance, which was pretty incredible because he wasn’t feeling his best at that point,” she says.

Lessons learned, and shared with others


Kate and her dad celebrating
Father’s Day in 2015

Kate is now taking her knowledge and experience of the disease and channeling it into volunteering for Prostate Cancer Canada on the Prostate Cancer Advisory Network. By consulting on health resources and other issues impacting those with prostate cancer, she’s working to ensure no other daughter loses their dad to this disease.

She understands the value of early detection, and wants men to be their own advocates when it comes to their health.

“There’s a lot of knowledge out there, which is really empowering, but reaching the older generation – my dad’s generation – is important. He didn’t necessarily know the risks as well as he should have. We need to make PSA testing more accessible.”

“It’s a really easy test and there really should be no excuse for men to be diagnosed at a later stage.”

Her message to men? “It’s okay to be vulnerable and admit you’re not indestructible. It’s something my dad definitely regretted because it tears families apart. And you can’t get that time back.”

Kate knows her dad would want men to hear that message, too. She hopes sharing her story will help other families and save men’s lives. It’s the legacy she’s leaving for her dad.

Spreading awareness across Canada

Kate was interviewed on CTV to share her experience and encourage men to speak to their doctors about the PSA test. Watch her interview.


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Posted: 2019-11-11 3:30:20 PM


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