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May 12, 2016

Healthy Living: Prostate Cancer and You

May is celebrated as cancer awareness month. Every year there are increased efforts to educate Belizeans on preventing and screening for common cancers. Cervical and breast cancer are still of concern for our women and for men, prostate cancer. There are many activities and education campaigns geared towards women but this year, there is one activity that is geared towards helping men learn more about prostate cancer. Healthy Living has the details.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Prostate Cancer: easy to detect, treatable and in some cases, when detected early, can be successfully cured. Yet, it remains the most common cancer affecting men in Belize and it continues to rob some men of their lives every single year.

 

Heather Reneau, Senior Administrator, Belize Cancer Society
“We’re steadily seeing prostate cancer on a rise. We’re also noticing that it’s not just the older men but the younger ones as well. So we as the cancer society need to make steps to address these issues in areas of education, in advocacy, awareness, and in also testing.”

 

Heather Reneau

Heather Reneau is the Senior Administrator at the Belize Cancer Society. She explains that across the board, Belizean men continue to be severely affected by treatable and easy to detect cancers.

Heather Reneau

“Prostate, testicular and colon are the leading cancer affecting our men. So a lot of them just stay behind, they don’t wanna talk about it; some might say I don’t think it is cancer. I might have a problem with my urethra, I might have a problem with my urine flow, but they do not want to accept it. So we urge our men, speak to your doctor, talk to your health practitioner…get pamphlets and do your own research and you will be able to become an advocate for yourself. We want our men to get yearly checkups. As soon as they become adults or are going through adolescences, get your sons checked up and men get yourselves checked up as well. We can’t continue to live in this culture that we wait for checkups until we are forty or fifty or sixty because we have to realize that our lifestyles have changed. The way we eat, the thing we do; everything changes over time. Back then when our grandfather was younger, today we need to make sure that we are getting the proper checkups and all the assistance that we need.”

 

Reneau says they’ve found that many men are misinformed of the screening options for prostate cancer.

 

Heather Reneau

“We found out that a lot of men are not just stubborn, they’re a bit scared because they don’t have the information and sometime we have the culture that we like to joke about things that it is so painful and the thought process of just going through it is very mindboggling for a man. So we have to make sure that we get out there and give them the right information. We let them know that the simple test is just a blood test. It is a simple test that the doctor does and looks at your indicators and sees what looks out of the norm. And if something is out of the norm, then he goes for further testing and exploration. So your initial test is painless; it’s simple.”

 

This is part of the reason that during this Cancer Awareness Month, there is one activity specifically geared to target men and their health.

 

Heather Reneau

“This ride is our cancer challenge 2016 ride. It’s the brainchild of the Benny’s Megabytes Cycling Club. We have a lot of men coming out supporting this ride and they have recognized that they need to step forward. They need to be the advocates and show other men that together we can do it. We can pass on the education, we can pass on the testing information; we can make other men feel comfortable. We can show these men, if we’re cycling and we can do it, you guys can do it as well.”

 

The two-day ride begins on the fourteenth and continues on the fifteenth. The first day ends with activities at Macal River Park and on Sunday at the Hour Bar Field. The funds raised from the ride will be use to offer free PSA tests – a prostate screening test – to men countrywide.

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