I am a Prostate Cancer survivor of Jamaican heritage, living in the USA. I have told my story in a book entitled Prostate Cancer and Me…Or You, The two Stages (Man to Man). It graphically describes my personal journey through the annals of this dreaded disease from diagnosis to treatment.
During my exposure in this uncharted sea of mixed feelings from hope to despair and vice versa, I learned that Jamaican men have the highest incidence of the disease in the world. In a news release by the Jamaican Information Service (JIS)The Chief Medical Officer, in the Ministry of Health of the previous administration, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester, speaking at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Rockefeller Research laboratories in Manhattan, NY, observed the opulence of this disease. She said that a high-fat diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and fear of Digital Rectal Examinations are the major challenges for Jamaican men to early detect the disease. So, my friends, while we continue to wallow in our ignorance and bury our heads in the sand, the disease continue like a runaway horse. Suffice it to say it has brought many men to abrupt halts in their quest for life, disrupted families through devastating deaths, miseries and pain.
I have the experience of living in Philadelphia for twenty years and every time I hear of some Jamaican being sick it invariable comes up that he is sick from Prostate Cancer. So to add to the CMO’s observation and finding here is another: Jamaican men are dying from prostate Cancer not only in Jamaica but also in America. Indeed my ears were uncomfortably pricked, when my urologist announced to me, on my initial visit to him “You Jamaican Guys are coming over here and dying off from this thing”.
Coupled with the fact of ignorance IS OUR HOMOPHOBIC NATURE. Too many times I have heard us say we are not going to the doctor to let a guy shove his finger up our anal aperture.
Speaking at that same engagement along with Jamaica’s CMO, nurse consultant and past president of Jamaica Nurses Group of New York Inc. Ms. Claudette Powell ,mentioned that we avoid seeing doctors and get into the health care system late. She couldn’t be more correct as many of my compadres in buffoonish fashion have allowed to me that they are not going to no doctor as when you go to doctor, doctor kill you.
Okay, so those are the Jamaican women standing up and ushering a war cry if you please for the men to stand up and take heed. What about the other observations carried out by other medical personnel at the same event? Did they concur? Or did they reject this phenomenon?
Well, the session was also addressed by Dr. John Mulhall, Attending Surgeon, Urology Service, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), who said that he sees men in tears of fears over impotent problems who come to his office. This my friends, runs down a Jamaican Man’s back like the identifying white line in a skunk’s black coat. We view that we must kill her wid it! And so our raw barbarism and bed room bully concepts that germinate the fear of impotence from prostate problems, continue to choke us like the hang-man noose.
Stocking up further against us was the contribution of Dr. Lewis J. Kampel, Attending Physician, Genitourinary Oncology Service, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering. The goodly doctor went on to underscore the fact that Caribbean men are twice more likely to get Prostate Cancer as white men and that African-American men have twice the mortality risk as their white counterpart.
Another carrier of the baton was Dr. David Gallagher who made what should be an unpopular declaration but none the less the truth that Jamaican Men are more likely to die from Prostate Cancer than men anywhere else in the world!
Sad to say these chickens have come home to roost on our people. The chicken of ignorance, the chicken of homophobia, the chicken of impotence. Today Jamaican men are dying, even in unprecedented numbers from Prostate Cancer. Whether they are dignitaries or common man, rich or poor. Personally I have known of too many since my diagnosis, and the Robotic Surgery that took care of me. It has become like a mixed blessing. The knowledge that saved me and the knowledge that rest on my shoulder like a boulder, of those who are not doing anything about this stealth disease. I am not about to sit with this and watch another man, being it Jamaican or not, come down with this disease and suffer and die, if I can help it. After five biopsies and four specialists today I can joyfully say I licked prostate cancer and have returned to good health. Do I not have a story to tell? And Couldn’t my story help other men? I think so.
After meeting with Doctor Jamison Jaffee, of Urologic Consultants of South Eastern Pennsylvania, and the capable and caring staff of Hahnemann University hospital, and with the help of Jehovah, I was made whole again. Yes I had urinary incontinence, yes I had impotence. Note though that I said “had”. Those have long since gone. Indeed! To put it plainly and simply today I have none of the problems that we would fear.
As I said before I am a Jamaican who survived Prostate Cancer. The foregoing seems like, as a Jamaican man, Prostate Cancer is coming at you like a posse of hornets, or poison arrows over the wall, and you have little or now way to turn. Take courage my brethren. Even though in the words of Bob Marley, one of our sons and brother, “many more will have to suffer and many more will have to die”, I think I know the reasons why. Don’t let Bob’s prophecy fulfill on you. Look for the next piece on my blog, THE REAL REASONS WE DIE.
Until then walk good my friend, and pack light.
Click on this link to read my story. https://www.createspace.com/3746191