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EVERY YEAR MORE THAN 200,000 AMERICAN MEN are told they have prostate cancer. Nearly 50,000 of them die, many of them needlessly.
Prostate cancer is the male equivalent of breast cancer — the numbers are almost identical — though it receives considerably less attention. Fashion models are photographed wearing designer T-shirts with a target printed over their breasts to remind the public about the dangers of breast cancer, but there is no equivalent campaign for men. Few black-tie dinners or theater benefits are given in aid of prostate-cancer research. Rather like the prostate itself, prostate cancer remains stubbornly invisible.
It resembles breast cancer in ways that go beyond the merely statistical. Just as breast cancer is the biggest fear of most women — formerly unspoken, but no longer — prostate cancer is the biggest fear of most men. It carries with it not only the fear of dying, like all cancer, but fears that go to the very core of masculinity — for the treatment of prostate cancer, whatever form it takes, almost invariably carries with it well-known risks of incontinence and impotence that strike directly at any man's self-image, pride, and enjoyment of life, and which, by their very nature, tend to make men reticent on the subject.
Selections reproduced at www.phoenix5.org with the kind permission of the author.
Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Success Research Corporation