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New Brunswick prostate cancer survivor says more education is needed

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WATCH: A New Brunswick says more conversation and education is needed about prostate cancer. – Jun 8, 2019

 A New Brunswick man is hoping his story of surviving prostate cancer helps spread awareness and encourages men to get screened for the disease.

“The big thing is to educate people on prostate cancer; a lot of people don’t know what prostate cancer is,” says Charlie Taylor.

READ MORE: Quebec City mayor announces progressive return to work following cancer diagnosis (May 27, 2019)

“Everybody thinks prostate cancer is an old man’s disease,” Taylor added. “It’s not. I was diagnosed when I was 49 years old.”

Charlie Taylor, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer six years ago, says more education and awareness is needed about the disease.
Charlie Taylor, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer six years ago, says more education and awareness is needed about the disease. Callum Smith / Global News

Taylor said he had no visible symptoms when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease.

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It impacted his entire family, he says.

“It’s changed my outlook on life, on how to live, live every day to the fullest,” Taylor says. “Just spend a lot of time with family.”

WATCH: (June 5) Motorcycle Ride for Dad to raise money for prostate cancer research and awareness in Edmonton

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Motorcycle Ride for Dad to raise money for prostate cancer research and awareness in Edmonton – Jun 5, 2019

Now, six years later, he hopes his story inspires other men to do their own research to avoid a similar diagnosis.

“Men do not like to talk about any health issues, especially below the belt.”

One in seven men receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, according to Prostate Cancer Canada.

A truck at the Atlantic Truck Show in Moncton was covered in plaid, as part of the Plaid for Dad campaign.

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A truck on display at the Atlantic Truck Show in Moncton was wrapped in plaid in support of Proste Cancer Canada’s Plaid for Dad campaign.
A truck on display at the Atlantic Truck Show in Moncton was wrapped in plaid in support of Proste Cancer Canada’s Plaid for Dad campaign. Callum Smith / Global News

“We see, on average, 11 men die from this disease every day,” says Dennis Potharst, the interim executive director of Prostate Cancer Canada in the Atlantic region.

Potharst says getting screened at the age of 45 is a good idea if there’s a history of prostate cancer in your family.

READ MORE: Many men ‘in the dark’ when it comes to prostate cancer: study (May 16, 2019)

The risk of getting the disease “rises quickly” after men turn 50.

But, he says it’s possible to occur at even younger ages.

“There’s even close to 100 per cent of cases are curable if detected early,” says Potharst. “That’s the key piece… Early detection does indeed save lives.”

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Dennis Potharst, the Atlantic region’s interim executive director for Prostate Cancer Canada, says 11 men die from prostate cancer daily.
Dennis Potharst, the Atlantic region’s interim executive director for Prostate Cancer Canada, says 11 men die from prostate cancer daily. Callum Smith / Global News

Taylor lost his father to prostate cancer at the age of 68, and says one of his brothers has also been diagnosed with it.

His other brother, he says, is getting checked every six months.

“I had absolutely no symptoms at all when I was diagnosed,” Taylor says. “It was by my bloodwork, my digital rectal exam, and I had a couple of doctors that said ‘you know what, maybe we should get a biopsy.'”

WATCH: (Nov. 8. 2018) Technology in Calgary to better diagnose prostate cancer is 1st in Canada

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Technology in Calgary to better diagnose prostate cancer is 1st in Canada – Nov 8, 2018

When symptoms do occur, some of them include difficulty urinating, frequent urination and blood in urine, according to Prostate Cancer Canada.

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That’s why Taylor says getting your PSA levels tested and undergoing a digital rectal test are both crucial.

The Plaid for Dad campaign asks you to wear plaid on June 14th, and support initiatives and resources for prostate cancer before Father’s Day.

Taylor is encouraging all men out there to “just learn about it, ask questions.”