Prostate cancer is a common malignant disease, particularly among older men. It is estimated that one in every seven men will suffer from prostate cancer during their life-time, according to the American Cancer Society. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in both genders, but prostate and breast cancer are the second types with higher incidence among men and women respectively. About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year, and it affects not only with people we deal with daily, but also with celebrities.
1. Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer, 85, is a golf legend who won 62 PGA Tours and a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. However, in 1997, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and later treated with a radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy. Palmer decided to use his fame to raise awareness for prostate cancer and the importance of men getting regular checkups. In addition, he also helped found a non-profit treatment destination at Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center in Rancho Mirage, California, known as the Arnold Palmer Prostate Center.
“I was operated on in January 1997…they didn’t take my life, they took my prostate. For six weeks, I suffered with the recovery of radical surgery,” stated Arnold Palmer. “But the fact is, I was able to enjoy my life then, and I am still enjoying it. As my wife said before she passed away, “Arnold, get on with your life.” So, when men are scared, “I don’t want to go have a PSA because I’m scared what they’re going to find,” that is the most stupid, ridiculous statement I have ever heard in my life! And I tell men that.”
2. Colin Powell
Colin Powell is a retired four-star United States Army general, 65th United States Secretary of State, former National Security Advisor, Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 2003, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had the gland removed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center later after. As a prostate cancer survivor, he became a supporter and advocate for the Prostate Conditions Education Council, which sponsors Prostate Cancer Awareness Week annually in September.
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 66, I wasn’t terribly surprised or shocked,” said Powell. “For the five years before that, I had been going for very regular checkups and my PSA was always high. It floated up and down. PSA alone doesn’t indicate cancer, it just says something is going on. At that point, I knew sooner or later that something would show up. And because I’m black, I have a higher propensity for prostate cancer than white folks do.”
3. Harry Belafonte
The actor, activist, singer, and songwriter Harry Belafonte became famous for The Banana Boat Song but in 1996, he faced a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Now 88-years-old, Belafonte not only became public about his fight with the disease, with also about his struggles with post-surgery. The actor was not always comfortable speaking about it, but he said he was able to overcome incontinence, a common side effect of prostate cancer treatment, within a year by making Kegel exercises.
“The prostate is something that attacks that central part of the male body that men are very preoccupied with. Somehow, any disorder there means your life is over, you can’t be a man anymore, you are now something less,” he said at a benefit for the Hoag Family Cancer Institute in Newport Beach, California. “If you’re going to have [prostate cancer], you’re going to have it. It’s what you do about it that makes the difference — how you conduct your life.”