My old life, the one where I felt “in control,” had actually gone quite well: I received an engineering degree from MIT, and after serving as an officer in the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps (Seabees) during the Vietnam era, I pursued an MBA from the University of California Berkeley. I was the happily married father of two bright adult children, three energetic grandchildren, and had a successful 35-year career in high technology marketing, my own consulting business, and was in generally good health.
My new life, as a patient diagnosed with an advanced and particularly aggressive version of prostate cancer, introduced me to feelings and fears I had no idea lurked inside me, and to a slew of new—and not very welcome—experiences.
With a cancer already outside my prostate and too advanced for surgery, I completed 42 sessions of radiotherapy in June 2009, and continue on hormone therapy to keep the cancer at bay. But since mine is an advanced cancer (i.e., it has spread outside the confines of my prostate gland), the threat of its return will hover over me for the rest of my life.
Every cancer patient deals with his or her disease in his or her own way. For me, it started with learning as much as I could and joining some on-line support groups. In turn, this led to keeping a journal during my treatment, which led to the book.
Along the way, I became a Consumer Reviewer for the Prostate Cancer Research Program, part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program administered by the Department of the Army. This is where I have learned just how incredibly devious prostate—and every other—cancer really is, and how challenging it is to develop effective treatments, much less a cure.
I’ve also become an advocate for increased prostate cancer awareness, especially in light of the fact that diagnosis rates for prostate cancer and breast cancer are roughly the same–both more than 200,000 per year–but research funding for prostate cancer in the United States is less than half that of breast cancer.
Having what is traditionally thought of as an “old man’s” disease (the average age at diagnosis is 66), I was surprised to find so many younger men—all baby boomers—who also have prostate cancer.
I soon realized that baby boomers will be facing cancer at an increasingly rapid rate as our cohort ages. Thus, I embarked on creating this website and blog, to follow cancer among us boomers, with a primary focus on prostate cancer.
–Craig Pynn (firstname.lastname@example.org)