Two Journeys of Prostate Cancer: An African American Man and a Gay Man Share Their Stories

Nearly 300 participants from around the nation joined the Prostate Cancer Foundation in a webinar featuring two stories of men, from diverse backgrounds, about their journeys through and beyond prostate cancer.

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In recognition of June’s National Men’s Health Month and Pride Month, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) presented a webinar featuring the two stories of men, from diverse backgrounds, about their journeys through and beyond prostate cancer. 

The survivors shared their unique perspectives in making decisions about treatment and managing side effects. Expert clinicians in urology and urologic oncology guided the June 28th online discussion that had nearly three hundred participants from across the nation.  

According to PCF, 1 in 6 African American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer; of all men, 1 in 8 will be stricken with the insidious disease. If caught early, prostate cancer is treatable. Early screening with a simple blood test is recommended for men as young in their mid-forties. Prostate cancer is more prevalent in men ages 55-69.

Medical professionals on the webinar were Sherita King, MD, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, and the event host, Zachary Klaassen, MD, MSc, urologic oncologist, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Rick Lee, 63, an African American, and who had a prostatectomy in 2020, talked about empowering oneself with knowledge and the importance of finding a doctor. Lee said he was experiencing symptoms – urinating extremely slow – but was unaware that it could be prostate cancer. He and his urologist, Dr. Zachary Klaassen, discuss his diagnosis, treatment considerations, and recovery, and lessons learned that can help other men and families. 

“Listen to your doctor and keep a positive mind,” Lee emphatically proclaimed as he sat next to Dr. Klaassen. “Pay attention to your body, express yourself to your doctor. This is my friend. He told me straight up. Men are very hesitant about going to the doctor. Please, all men get tested, especially Black men.”

Lee said family history for cancer is important to know. He said his sister had cancer. After examining his family tree, he discovered many cancer deaths in his bloodline.

Lee urges men diagnosed with prostate cancer to seek support, be it from an organized group and family, He said his main support came from his wife “who was there with me from day one.”

Read and see a video of Lee’s journey at

Dan, 71, has participated in a study for gay men following his treatment and has been active in gay men’s support groups and advocacy. Urologist Dr. Sherita King will discuss clinical issues she sees in her practice, helping men make decisions about treatment and restoring their sexual function. 

Dan had health insurance that encouraged getting tested. He said he learned he had to start taking the disease seriously by having PSA screenings.

“That was in 2010 when the journey started,” he said. “I had never heard of anyone dying from prostate cancer. Just heard it was the tortoise of cancers, so it was no hurry,” Dan said, who is from Seattle. “But I started learning how grave it could be, which quickly put the fear of God in me.”

He said for about a year he was researching treatment options like cryotherapy that would “preserve my sexual ability as a gay man; that was my big worry.” He said for a while he was not too concerned about the actual cancer. About a year in his journey, he had surgery to have his prostate removed.

“I still have a lot of sexual functions, but it was different. It was a learning process for three and one-half years before I went on the first hormonal phase, which changes, as people know, your libido entirely.”

He said he had a brother who did not want to talk about it, but Dan later found out that he had prostate cancer.

In Seattle, Dan said he saw a hand made poster designed by a gay man who founded his own support group. The man had had a prostatectomy and shared information about treatment options that Dan found encouraging.

“It gave me hope and I’ve always been a big believer in support groups,” Dan said. “I’ve helped get a group started for gay men related to us too, and I’ve been apart of regular groups as well. Dan is married, saying his husband is “an incredible support group.”

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s leading philanthropic organization dedicated to the research and eradication of prostate cancer. PCF’s vision is to end all deaths from prostate cancer by raising awareness and funding urgent, innovative research.

This event is generously supported by Lantheus 


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