Month 19 – Support

It’s not something that you see everyday, but it’s something that made me smile when I did.

In a world of pink breast cancer awareness ribbons and Susan G. Komen Foundation ads, it’s refreshing to finally see a glimmer of light blue.

I was recently in a Vons supermarket (part of Safeway) and they are promoting prostate cancer awareness for the entire month of June.  The store had blue ribbons hanging over the cash registers; blue reusable grocery bags for sale (for $2.99 but $2.00 from each bag goes to the Prostate Cancer Foundation); a cash donation box; and a prompt on the credit/debit card swipe terminal asking if you would like to contribute to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Apparently the Safeway Foundation has been doing this since 2001 and has raised over $68 million for prostate cancer research.  To be fair, they’ve also done this for breast cancer research and have raised over $108 million in the same period.

It’s both refreshing and encouraging to see a business take such a proactive and highly visible interest in combatting prostate cancer.  You can read more about the Safeway Foundation here:

The Safeway Foundation

Prostate Cancer Foundation – Vons/Safeway Support

While I’m not in the business of endorsing commercial enterprises, I will tell you that, if given the choice between a Vons or Safeway and a Kroger, Ralph’s or Piggly-Wiggly, I’d be inclined to support the Safeway chains.

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That whole discussion makes me think of how I can increase and awareness and provide support. 
The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life might be one way, but that’s rather broad in focus, and I think that there should be a more acute focus on prostate cancer awareness.  This is particularly true in light of the recent United States Preventative Services Task Force recommendation to do away with routine PSA screening.
While I can see points on both sides of the argument, the recommendation only served to further confuse an already extremely confusing situation for men.  My fear is that it will cause men to just ignore the subject altogether out of pure frustration.
To say that the PSA test is harmful is misleading.  It’s what you do with the results of the PSA test that can lead to “harm.”  And “harm” is defined by each individual’s perspective, not a bunch of statistics or a task force.
What needs to happen is that awareness needs to be increased and men need to be thoroughly educated about prostate cancer and its different forms and complexities; about the treatment options available; and to have very blunt and real conversations with their urologists about the risks, side effects, and benefits of each option.
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Finally, the blog reader that I mentioned last month made it through his radical prostatectomy just fine and is recovering with some days better than others, as expected.

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