According to the American Cancer Society in 2012 “about 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed; about 28,170 men will die of prostate cancer and about one and six men will be diagnosed in his lifetime; family history indicates a higher risk, and African American males have twice as alarming fatalities”. The good news is if detected early, the five year survival rate is an astonishing nearly 100%. NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes knows the statistics all too well, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 after having his PSA checked at the Hall of Fame, and later visiting his primary doctor. Mike was kind enough to join me for an interview for a second year in a row to talk about early detection, how the National Football League, American Urological Association and the Know Your Stats campaign are doing their part to get men off the couch and into the doctor’s office, and more!
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about the Know Your Stats campaign, and the meaning behind this important message?
Mike Haynes: “The Know Your Stats campaign is an awareness campaign, and the whole idea is to increase awareness about this disease. One in six men will be diagnosed with Prostate cancer in their lifetime, and when you compare that to one in eight women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, there’s so much information out there about breast cancer. Everybody knows what to be looking for, but when it comes to prostate cancer- and more men are going to get prostate cancer, no one seems to know anything about it. I talk to men all the time, they have no idea what the prostate gland does, where it is, how many men are going to get the disease. They don’t know anything. And as a consequence, they aren’t looking for it. They’re not looking for different things that they need to know. They don’t know if they’re at risk. This campaign is really designed to change all that. It’s a partnership between the NFL and the American Urological Association Foundation, and we offer free screenings to retired players (that’s part of it); but the most important thing that we do is we educate these gentlemen, and they get out in their communities and they try to help other guys get educated about the disease.
So far it’s in our fourth year. We’ve got a lot of cool new things this year, such as the NFL auction where people can go and get in the bid process to get some cool memorabilia or get involved in cool experiences. I’m actually asking fans to write us and shoot us an email, let us know what would be a cool event that they might have an interest in participating in, that they would actually pay money to have. One guy today talked about going on a roller coaster ride with me! Things like that. We also created the Mike Haynes fund, and that’s basically money that we’re going to use to help local support groups try to get other guys to come talk to men in different communities and try to help them with their fundraising if necessary, and things like that.
The biggest thing that we’re doing that’s different this year is more than 500 hospitals have partnered with us to help us get the word out, and so there will be local events in your town and around the country all this month and throughout the rest of the year on educating men on the importance of early detection. If you catch prostate cancer early when it’s treatable, it’s not going to be a major issue in your life.”
Candace Rose: You mentioned the importance of early detection and catching it early, at what age should men talk with their doctors about prostate health?
Mike Haynes: “The AUA is recommending 40. It used to be considered ‘old man’s disease’; I’d say 40 is pretty young. It’s a man’s disease and the more we can start talking about it, the better chance we have in making a difference in men’s lives in regard to getting it.”
Candace Rose: Should men with a family history of prostate cancer get screened at an earlier age?
Mike Haynes: “40 is the recommended age, but I talk to guys all the time, a lot of guys do start getting screened earlier when it runs in their family or if they’re African American and it runs in their family. But definitely by 40.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Mike Haynes: “Everything is on the website KnowYourStats.org, and it’s the best resource for prostate cancer, and different questions you might have. This is the one month out of the year where everybody is focused on prostate cancer awareness, but for us it’s all year round. I’m happy to be on your show, Candace and help increase the awareness for this disease. Most men are going to get this disease. A lot of men are going to die with prostate cancer, and they don’t have to die from it and that’s what we’re trying to do to make sure men are not dying from this disease.”