EDITORIAL: Let’s all toast dad’s health

Prostate cancer awareness is a powerful force for change in community

It may not be the most enjoyable thing to think about on Father’s Day this weekend.

But to help more dads stick around for more years, it’s as good a time as any to remind men 40 and over – and younger men with a history of cancer in their families – to get their prostate checked out.

As the folks at The Prostate Centre in Victoria have been telling us for years now, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian men.

In 2012, an estimated 25,500 men were diagnosed and 4,100 died from the disease in this country. The Centre estimates that on Vancouver Island, 788 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 114 died from it.

Now for the good news.

Where it is caught and treated early enough, prostate cancer has a low mortality rate of about one in every 27 diagnoses. In other words, patients who don’t wait until a problem arises to take action survive 90 to 95 per cent of the time.

That’s where the work of organizations such as The Prostate Centre has become invaluable. They not only provide support for patients and families dealing with prostate cancer treatment and offer information to men interested in finding out more details, they are helping get the word out.

The more men know about their options and take steps to look after their own health, the less this common yet potentially deadly cancer will steal our dads from us.

This Sunday’s Safeway Father’s Day walk/run, happening from 10 a.m. to noon at Royal Roads University in Colwood, is a fundraiser for the Centre.

Ditto for the upcoming West Coast Motorcycle Ride to Live. It doesn’t happen on Father’s Day (it goes June 23), but organizers of the event have the right idea. They’re making a lot of noise – literally and figuratively – to raise awareness of the need for middle-aged men to be proactive with their own health.