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Welcome to the September 2020 issue of the Hot SHEET. When I was young, September meant heading back to school. Both my parents were teachers, and they raised me with a love of learning. Of course, I also enjoyed seeing friends that were away during the summer. This school year is unlike any other in living memory. My thoughts and prayers go out to the students, parents, teachers, staff, and all those involved in education today.
As an adult, September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and this is what that means to me.
In January, 2009, I became a prostate cancer survivor; my prostate and the cancer it contained were surgically removed. I have been cancer free ever since. I am alive because PSA and DRE screening tests, led to prostate biopsies, and the detection of my disease while it was still microscopic. Today, many patients like me are choosing Active Surveillance and living full lives without surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. The science of prostate cancer detection and treatment is evolving daily. Prostate Cancer Awareness month is a great time for all of us to be aware of the many options we have, and the importance of early detection. Early detection saves lives, and I’m living proof!
The mission of Us TOO International is to raise awareness and provide educational resources and support services to those affected by prostate cancer to help them learn to fight this disease. In January, 2020, I became Executive Director of Us TOO. I am privileged to lead a team of staff members and volunteers that work with those affected by prostate cancer. We offer support, education, advocacy, and awareness services through 200 support groups (many of them now meeting virtually), a call-in group for women caregivers and another for gay men and their partners with prostate cancer, webinars on vital topics, and a variety of written materials. All Us TOO products and services are totally free thanks to generous sponsors, donors, private and public funders.
SEA Blue Countdown—Less than 2 weeks until September 13th!
This September, we take this work to a whole new level with our first SEA Blue National, Virtual Prostate Cancer Run, Walk, and More www.seablueprostatewalk.org. We hope you’ll register, donate, spread the word, and most importantly participate in this unique two-hour event celebrating the lives of all those affected by prostate cancer.
SEA Blue has been the largest prostate cancer run/walk in Chicago for the past 16 years. In 2020, the event is going National and Virtual. You can now participate from anywhere in the country. In fact, from anywhere in the world! We’ve just passed our initial fundraising goal of $100,000! We need your help to keep that momentum going. This is our major fundraiser of the year, and we’d love to have you supporting the Us TOO mission to provide support and education to the prostate cancer community at no charge.
Anyone can register as an individual. Registration this year is Pay What You Can, given the current economic environment and the impact of COVID-19. There’s strength in numbers! Register and donate at www.seablueprostatewalk.org.
Between the Sheets
As always, we have a number of useful articles included in this issue of the Hot Sheet. Let me highlight the Between the Sheets insert authored by Dr. Jeffrey Albaugh, an Us TOO Board Member, and Director of Sexual Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem and at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He addresses a question from a survivor that is often raised by men who have undergone prostate cancer surgery:
“I feel very fortunate to be free from cancer after my surgery. I hate to admit it, but the erectile dysfunction really messes with my mind. I didn’t think it would bother me as much as it does, but I don’t feel like the man I was anymore. Do you have any advice for me?”
Dr. Albaugh give compassionate and evidence-based advice to this patient, and the many readers who are facing similar issues. A few points stand out in my mind:
- After prostate cancer treatment, the changes in sexual function may negatively impact your self-image and your psychological well-being.
There are many resources for men struggling with various psychological problems like depression, anxiety and/or relationship issues: www.ustoo.org/anxiety-and-depression.
- It can really help to work with a trained healthcare professional.
Us TOO’s Prostate Cancer Connections Webinar Series will return in October with a totally new program focused on genomics and genetic testing. It will feature Medical Oncologist and Us TOO Board Member Heather Cheng, MD, PhD and Genetic Counselor Katie Stoll, MS, LGC. Stay tuned to www.ustoo.org for details.
Us TOO and AnCan are co-sponsoring a 4-part webinar series entitled Active Surveillance and Beyond. You can view a recording of the July 30th program, and register for the September 29th, November 30th, and December 30th programs though www.ancan.org.
COVID-19, Prostate Cancer, and Us TOO: Us TOO has created a webpage dedicated to addressing the impact of the pandemic on all of us affected by prostate cancer. It includes our exclusive articles by Dr. Mark Moyad and many other resources. It is updated frequently, so please bookmark it and visit often. https://www.ustoo.org/covid.
Shalom. Salaam. Peace.