Prostate Cancer: One Man's Journey from Advocate to Patient

Our own iVoice, Jim Higley, shares the inspiring story of Dan Zenka, senior vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation>Prostate Cancer Foundation, who himself was diagnosed with the disease last year

iVoice Jim Higley continues our month-long campaign to support the “Movember” movement. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on men’s faces around the world. With their Mos, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, including prostate and testicular cancer. Support Jim’s campaign as a prostate cancer survivor here!

My world is an assortment of groups. Teams, clubs, committees. (And now there’s even Google+). I’ve volunteered, been tossed in troops, have buddies, friends and pals.

I’ve felt the bond of a college fraternity and the power of worshiping with others. I’ve cried and laughed in movie theaters with nameless faces. Far too many times.

Casts and crews? I’ve done them both. I rarely meet a sign-up sheet that doesn’t sing to me.

My world truly is an assortment of groups.

However, next to my family and children, there is no group I cherish more than being one of thousands of men living with and fighting prostate cancer. While it’s a club I wish I never had been drafted into, it’s the club that brings me the deepest appreciation for life, the greatest joy and inspiration every day.

It’s a club that has introduced me to warriors, given me an arm around my shoulder, a swift kick in the rear, and a much-needed dose of reality. It’s a club that -- once a member -- knows no walls. All subject matter is on the table. Emotions in this club are worn on sleeves. If you are a man fighting or living with prostate cancer, you will find love here.

One of those men I share those feelings with is Dan Zenka.

Dan is the senior vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation . A career guy in the world of prostate cancer awareness, life pulled a painful twist when Dan, himself, received his own diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2010 at the age of 51. After a radical prostatectomy (the surgical removal of a man’s prostate), Dan was subsequently diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer which was followed up by radiation treatment. He is currently undergoing three years of androgen deprivation therapy.

The bitter irony: One of the most important voices in prostate cancer awareness is suddenly given a front-row seat in the journey.

Within days of his diagnosis, Dan started a blog to share information, his perspective as a patient and, most importantly, to encourage men to talk about prostate cancer. Dan’s blog that chronicles his experience will help everyone glean valuable insight into the realities of this journey.

One of my favorite stories Dan shares is The Embrace of the Brotherhood. It’s a beautiful story about the incredible bond between men with prostate cancer.

“All of us who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are members of a brotherhood -- an order that provides unique understanding, perspectives and bonds. In the 17 months since my diagnosis, I have learned that as with many fraternal orders, there are also levels. However, in our case, progression through the ranks is neither desired nor encouraged. Read the rest of Dan’s story

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating research globally. It is one of the primary organizations which benefits from the efforts of Movemer. Founded in 1993, PCF has raised more than $435 million and provided funding to more than 1,500 researchers at nearly 200 institutions in 12 countries. PCF advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more efficient investment of governmental research funds supporting transformational cancer research. More information about PCF can be found at pcf.org.

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