Our New 29000 Men Cycling Jersey Comes Through
I was at the LA Velodrome’s open training session yesterday afternoon for some much needed exercise during our extended rainy period here in Los Angeles, and our new jersey design came into play. [See the jersey at the bottom of the post.]
A fifty-ish cyclist walked up and commented that he had been reading our jersey (see below) and asked if I were part of the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project.
I responded ‘yes,’ and we launched into what became the typical conversation I had with men all across the United States during the 2010 Tour de USA, my motorcycle ride from Los Angeles to Washington, DC and back, to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
The Impact of Personal
What I have come to realize is that most men are vaguely aware of prostate cancer but they lack the detailed knowledge to relate it to their personal lives. What usually helps is when I tell my personal story, which very often yields an “ah, ha” moment.
The prostate cancer discussion is further complicated because no one really knows what causes prostate cancer. Moreover, as I noted in a previous post, researchers now have identified 24 different variants of prostate cancer.
In this man’s case, he knew that he had a number, but didn’t know what it is [so he doesn’t know if it is significant or not] nor if it has changed over the past five years since his last test.
He was shocked to learn that more than 30,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2010 and that there are more new cases of prostate cancer each year than breast cancer.
OK, So What’s My Story and Why Does it Have Such Impact?
In general, the medical community still believes that a PSA (prostate specific antigen) level of 4.0 or less is in the acceptable range, and that a physical exam (meaning a digital rectal exam) in combination with a PSA test is sufficient.
I was accidentally diagnosed with prostate cancer when my PSA was 3.2 and my physical examination was negative. As you can see, I was in the ‘acceptable range.’
I was fortunate to have a case of prostatitis that spiked my PSA to 8.2. Two rounds of physicians later I meet with an urologist who gave me a Free PSA, which clearly indicated the strong possibility of prostate cancer.
Two sets of needle biopsies later (done with local anesthetic) and we found two tumors in the upper portion of the prostate that could never be felt during a physical exam, which can only feel the lower 2/3’s of the prostate gland.
That was almost eight years ago. Had it not been for that urologist’s decision to order a Free PSA test and his diligence in finding those tumors, I very likely would be dead from metastatic prostate cancer. Thus, the creation of the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project.
What Should You Be Doing?
I am not a physician and I do not give medical advice. However, following are the suggestions that I give men based on my personal “accidental survivor” experience:
- Beginning at age 35, have an PSA test to establish a baseline. You are looking for any change in that value from one year to the next. If your medical insurance will not cover the test, you can order a test online through Bloodtestathome.com for $25.95. (Use the code ‘psausa’ at checkout and receive a 15% discount.)
- Log that number in your PSA Tracker that you can download free from our 29000men website, and watch for any change year-over-year.
- If you wind up with a significant number, in my view any number 1.0 or greater is significant, have a Free PSA test and evaluate the ratio (the Free PSA should be equal to or greater than .25 (25%) of the PSA test value. If it’s less than the .25 value, be certain to talk with your physician.
- If you are like most of us and are a little bit sedentary, look into adopting a more active lifestyle. The American Cancer Society notes that a third of all cancers are directly related to lifestyle – physical condition and nutritional habits. [Since we don’t know what causes prostate cancer, it makes good sense to consider following a lifestyle that prevents prostate cancer rather than trying to cure it after the fact.]
Participate in One of Our Black Tire Affairs
We are working on building a nationwide series of bicycling events to raise prostate cancer awareness. We would love to have you participate. You can find links at 29000men.org to the websites for these various events.
Wear a 29000 Men Cycling Jersey
It’s always amazing to witness the power of an image. You can help our awareness program simply by wearing one of our cycling jerseys. They are available for purchase online at http://www.29000men.org. Just visit the website and click on the cycling gear tab.
Best wishes for the holidays, Robert