Today I’m attending a memorial service for my dear friend’s father who passed away from prostate cancer on Saturday. Having personally witnessed the suffering from prostate cancer twenty years ago when my grandfather died from this disease, I can speak first hand as to the inordinate amount of suffering for someone with late stage prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.
In regards to breast cancer, about 1 woman in 8 will diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Again, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 35.
Interesting to note that the statistics are similar but the funding is twice as much for breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute states that there as breast cancer research funding in the amount of $599.50 Million and only $293.90 Million in funding on prostate cancer.
Median age for prostate diagnosis is 67 years, and the median age for breast cancer is 61 years.
The comparisons don’t stop there. The psychological parallels are there too. Women who suffer from breast cancer can have issues with their self image and their sexuality, which, of course, is also an issue for men suffering from prostate cancer.
With all of these similarities, it’s interesting to note that everything is pink in October to celebrate breast cancer awareness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that breast cancer is getting so much attention in the media and funding for research. (Note: My mother is a breast cancer survivor and I’m at a very high risk for breast cancer). Years ago a woman had to suffer with breast cancer without the support of the community leaving her feeling isolated, and now we have an entire month to get the word out and to engage breast cancer survivors.
Prostate cancer also has an awareness month (September), but it gets very little coverage in the media and minimal sponsorship from corporations and individuals. What can we all do to increase awareness of prostate cancer and funding? Why aren’t more corporations supporting prostate research? Pink is great, but blue is cool too.
Please take the time to learn more about prostate cancer via the following links: