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.
“Everybody thinks prostate cancer is an old man’s disease,” Taylor added. “It’s not. I was diagnosed when I was 49 years old.”
Taylor said he had no visible symptoms when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease.
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.”
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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.
“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.
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.”
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.'”
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When symptoms do occur, some of them include difficulty urinating, frequent urination and blood in urine, according to Prostate Cancer Canada.
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.”