Prostate cancer gets personal

This space isn’t usually about me, but I’ll make an exception because I can’t think of a better way to do this.

I have prostate cancer.  Yeh.  Really.

There, now I feel better.  Actually there’s a bigger reason or two for announcing this publicly.  First of all, it is Movember, and that means a bunch of guys are going to be channeling their inner James Harden.

My dear friend Jay Wilson (@j_wilson on Twitter) has started a site to gather donations for prostate cancer research and development ( isn’t a direct appeal for you to donate, but it’s a good cause if you feel the urge, and besides, it will be fun watching Jay grow his full beard and see him age 20 years in the next month.  Oh yes, trust me, I’ve seen it before and the transformation is a little frightening! 

The other, more important thing, is that I want to appeal to any men who trip across this blog post to GET CHECKED.  I did regularly, and it probably saved my life.  This is a notoriously elusive disease to diagnose, and most men eventually get it, but if you catch it early enough it can be treated successfully.  Just do it.  A blood test and finger up your bum is no big deal; prostate cancer is.

The biggest threat most men face is ignorance, and we need to educate our friends and families about the risks, diagnosis, and treatments.  In the academic world of identity politics, I’ve always self-identified as a teacher first, and maybe that’s a bit of beautiful irony now, because I think it’s my role to help get the word out and educate men about this insidious, lurking, too-often-hidden disease. 

Now, don’t worry about me personally.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’m going to get this taken care of with surgery and everything points to my being cancer free before the end of Movember.  I don’t need your sympathy; I don’t want your worry; and please understand, I don’t want to have visitors or devote a lot of attention or energy to replying to phone calls or messages right now.  I’ve got other stuff in front of me to do first.

But do us all a favour, and find one reluctant guy and convince him to get checked.  It matters.


10 thoughts on “Prostate cancer gets personal

  1. That’s simultaneously scary-as-hell and great news! Here’s to post-surgery clear sailing! I’ve got my annual physical coming up, and this’ll be part of it. I was lucky to get a CT scan that included that area last year, so have some good baseline data.

    • Thanks, D’Arcy! I’m sure I’ll be fine, and of course I’m glad to hear you’re on top of it. I’m sure you’ll get an “all clear” at your physical, but it’s amazing how many people don’t bother with an annual checkup.

  2. First of all Rick, sending you positive vibes and looking forward to reading your a good news update very soon.

    On behalf of all men, I thank you for making something very personal public –
    it’s been almost twenty years (!) since I had a class with with you, but you are still teaching. Take care.

  3. Pingback: Since I Had Not Shaved This Month… Movember it is – CogDogBlog

  4. I’ve reminded two people today! A “yeah yeah” (I’ll follow up) and a “yup!” Much love to you, Rick, and rock that mustache.

  5. Pingback: Mauve-ember Man of the Year! | ETAD Café Canadien

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