A Story of Inspiration for Men’s Health Month
I recently had the honor of meeting Joe (his name has been changed to protect his privacy), a 70-year-old man who was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I asked him how he felt after learning he had cancer. He said the diagnosis gutted him and left him feeling hopeless and uneasy. As a husband and father, he wondered how his diagnosis would affect his wife and children. He said his world changed as he struggled with whether to have his prostate surgically removed or to pursue a more conservative route of active surveillance. Joe said he had seen what prostate cancer treatment did to some of his friends – impotence and incontinence – and he wanted none of it. “The look in their eyes changed after their surgeries, they just weren’t the same!”
Joe consulted a urologist who was an expert in prostate cancer and had experience using genetic testing for patients with prostate cancer. After a couple of office visits, Joe’s healthcare professional ordered Myriad’s Prolaris genetic test to determine whether Joe’s cancer was aggressive, which could require surgery or radiation, or “indolent,” which would lend itself to more conservative management. His test result showed that Joe had a less aggressive cancer. Joe consulted with his healthcare professional and, based on his test result, he chose active surveillance rather than surgery or radiation. I asked him how much the Prolaris test influenced his decision and he said: “on a scale of 1 to 10, the Prolaris test result was a 12 in making my decision.”
A few weeks after my fortunate encounter, Joe had plans to “finally” retire after working in his third career and said he and his wife plan on traveling and visiting some national parks. After receiving his Prolaris test result, he said he felt different; confident in his decision and ready to get on with the “business of living.” I asked him what advice he would give to other men diagnosed with prostate cancer. “Get as much information as possible before making treatment decisions. Information is power!” he said. “I’m still riding motorcycles and going to weekly dances with my wife.”
I am so happy for him! I find his story really inspiring and it reminds me why I work at Myriad Genetics — nothing is more important to us than helping patients. I want to thank Joe for sharing his story with me and to wish all of the men out there, Happy Men’s Health Month!