In January of 2002, Bob Tierney and I, with a lot of help from John Brinson, started up the Class Prostate Cancer Support List. The intent has been to develop an active group to provide information and support to those of us in the class who become afflicted with PC and to those wanting to learn more about how to prevent it in the first place. Naturally, non-cancerous issues such as BPH (enlarged prostate) and erectile dysfunction are fair game as well.
Within six months the group grew to over 100 and today stands at 138, or more than a quarter of our living classmates and former classmates. Of those, 41 have been afflicted with PC and have courageously and selflessly identified themselves to the group and have availed themselves on a one-on-one basis to provide counsel and assistance to those who become afflicted and want help from those who have been there, done that. We as a class really owe these guys a great deal. And we in the group are very proud of them. On the flip side, those who have identified themselves as PC-afflicted have certainly been appreciative of the support they have received from close friends, concerned classmates, and each other.
At least 53 classmates so far have been diagnosed with PC. Two have died from the disease, three from other causes. As a group we are contracting PC at the rate of about five a year, and that is not expected to begin to start slowly tapering off for another four or five years. See our Class PC Diagnosis Distribution Table to compare our class to the national average.
The true success of the group has been attributable to our ability to communicate freely and openly with each other. But the issues we deal with are often very personal and highly sensitive in nature. They include, but are by no means limited to external assaults upon our masculinity, even our mortality. Therefore, confidentiality and sensitivity are the very cornerstones of our program. Personal issues stay within the group and we are very mindful and respectful of each other’s feelings and needs.
If you would like to learn more about prevention or if you have become afflicted with PC and would like to receive support, please review our PC Support Group Guidelines. Also feel free to call me (512/345-5964) or John Brinson (610/285-0066) for more information. As indicated in the “Guidelines” we offer different levels and types of assistance depending upon one’s needs and the particular level of confidentiality desired.