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Do you have a cancer game plan?

To the Editor,

During September, the Canadian Cancer Society is highlighting men’s health with a fun and informative campaign – What’s Your Game Plan? – to remind men of the simple steps they can take to reduce their risk of cancer below the waist including prostate, colorectal and testicular cancers. 

Each September I reflect on my own experience dealing with prostate cancer. I know that I am not alone in my reflection because this year, in BC alone, 3,400 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and this year 530 BC men will die as a result of prostate cancer.

When I was diagnosed some 10 years ago I immediately turned to the internet for information and was horrified to find most sites reflected clinical studies in terms only a medical professional could understand and what little I did learn did not fill me with hope. Today, “googling” prostate cancer will bring up a huge amount of information that a layman can understand.

One of the very best sites is the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Service (CIS).  If you, or a family member or friend, have been diagnosed with cancer, the Cancer Information Service provides a comprehensive cancer encyclopedia of information that will answer the myriad of questions you will have about dealing with your cancer.

Let the Cancer Information Service be your first stop in seeking answers. The service is available at no cost simply by dialing 1-888-939-3333 or going to info@cis.cancer.ca.

The Cancer Information Service also hosts CancerConnection, a program that matches clients with trained survivors based on similar treatment, diagnosis or lifestyle. If you feel you would like to talk with someone who has gone through the cancer journey you are embarking upon, call the Cancer Information Service and ask to be matched with a volunteer who has had a similar experience. It is free and confidential.

I currently volunteer as a prostate survivor on CancerConnection. When I am matched with a client, I do my best to provide a sympathetic ear as clients talk through their fears and to share my experience as a way to help clients make decisions about what is right for them. 

So, men, particularly those of you past your 50th birthday, let September be a reminder to discuss your prostate health with your doctor. And remember, if you should be diagnosed with prostate cancer you are not alone. Reach out and become informed; build your game plan. Visit www.cancergameplan.ca

Murray Bertram

Past president of the Canadian Cancer Society, Kootenay region