American diplomat and Democratic Party politician John Kerry entered his race for President of the United States in 2002 eventually losing to George W. Bush in the 2004 election. But in the midst of the often tumultuous campaign, Kerry was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The politician did not let the diagnosis stop him nor did he use the disease as a ploy for sympathy or votes.
It was early 2003 when Kerry announced to the nation that he had prostate cancer. The politician was aware of the disease because his father died with it at age 85, and Kerry had been regimented to physical exams every six months, exercising regularly and eating healthy, despite the demands of his career and the campaign. In December of 2002, his concern became reality.
“Overnight, I had to put the brakes on and put my health first, halting my travel and speaking schedule,” Kerry said in an interview with Coping magazine. “Teresa (wife) and I researched all the options. After learning that radiation wasn’t a fail-safe option, I decided to go the surgical route. My dad had radiation, and I saw what it did to him and how tiring it was.”
At age 59, the diagnoses and subsequent surgery for prostate cancer changed Kerry’s life. He had to make adjustments.
John Kerry was criss-crossing the country during the presidential campaign and was feeling “dead tired.” He worked treatments and doctor appointment into his already busy schedule. Doctors credited Kerry’s fast recovery to being a healthy and fit person. Before long, Kerry got back on the campaign trail.
“I had very close relationships with my family and friends before I was diagnosed and treated for cancer, but I think the experience has certainly made me appreciate them more, and hopefully vice versa. My family and friends were 100% supportive throughout the whole process, and I will be forever grateful to them,” he said.
Though Kerry lost his bid for President in 2004, he continued his work in politics, and currently serves under President Barack Obama as Secretary of State.
Outside of politics, Kerry is dedicated to raising awareness for prostate cancer and the need for all men to get regular examinations.
“We need to make sure that all Americans know they need to be tested regularly, but there are certain groups who are more vulnerable than others when it comes to cancer. We need to use our voices to end the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ in healthcare and in cancer treatment,” Kerry said. “Cancer is one of those big issues I care about. It’s personal.”
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