Mark Good, prostate cancer survivor, continues to raise awareness about the disease that is the second most common cancer among men.
Your Local Health | Written by BJ Towe
Mark Good has been cancer-free for two-and-a-half years. And he's on a mission to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of finding it early, when it can be most easily treated.
In addition to speaking at numerous events and organizations, he teamed up with the national nonprofit organization ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer to bring America's largest men's health event to Des Moines in 2015.
“Funds raised through the walk support research, encourage action, and provide education and support to men and their families, both here in our community and nationally,” says Good.
Urologist Brian Gallagher, M.D., at The Iowa Clinic Men's Center, adds, “The event spotlights early detection and prevention of prostate cancer, which affects one in seven American men during their lifetimes.”
“The earlier you find prostate cancer, the better the chances of curing the disease. Go to your doctor and talk about PSA,” Gallagher advises.
ZERO and The Iowa Clinic: Spreading the Word About Prostate Cancer
Unlike breast cancer – which has become part of America's everyday vernacular – prostate cancer isn't talked about much. As a result, too many men are unaware of the disease. Worse yet, many men who have prostate cancer go undiagnosed for too long. The consequences can be deadly.
To help raise awareness, The Iowa Clinic has teamed up with ZERO (so-named for its mission to end prostate cancer) to sponsor the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk. The inaugural event in 2015 was led by prostate-cancer survivor Mark Good and drew 220 participants and raised $42,000. This year's event promises to be even bigger.
Erin Kelly, race director for ZERO's Midwest events, says the funds raised are used in several ways. On a local level, ZERO provides a wealth of educational materials, such as webinars and print materials, and supports PSA testing events. “We're also the leader on Capitol Hill to protect the $80 million allocated for prostate research. This year we were able to get an increase to that for 2017,” she says.
“At the end of the day, we're all here to talk about how important it is for everyone to educate the men in their lives about the risk factors and reduce the incidence of prostate cancer,” she says.
Urologist Kevin Birusingh, M.D., The Iowa Clinic Men's Center adds, “No one should have to live with urinary symptoms that decrease quality of life because they think it's a natural part of aging. There are so many things we can do to help. That includes curing prostate cancer when it's detected early.”
If you are concerned about your prostate health The Iowa Clinic Men's Center is comprised of a team focused on the unique health needs of men.
At 57 years old, Mark Good is pretty young to have had prostate cancer. But nearly three years ago, when a blood test showed elevated levels of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA), he “knew” he had the disease – even though dozens of biopsies taken at two medical centers failed to locate it.
“My dad had colon cancer, which meant I was more prone to getting it than average,” Good says. “Two of my brothers were also diagnosed with prostate cancer. I knew it had to be there.”
After moving from Fort Dodge to Waukee, he saw Urologist Brian Gallagher, M.D., at The Iowa Clinic Men's Center. Another blood test showed that Good's PSA number had risen further, and more biopsies were performed. Finally, the cancer was located.
From the time Good began pursuing the reason behind his rising PSA, a total of 63 tissue samples had been taken. “Only one was positive for cancer – and it was an aggressive cancer at that,” Good says.
Dr. Gallagher says, “Depending on the patient's age and condition, there are a number of treatment options for prostate cancer. Technologies and treatments have improved significantly in the last 10 to 15 years. For example, robotic-assisted surgeries allow patients to get back to work sooner and help improve traditional post-surgical issues, such as incontinence and impotence.”
After discussing his options with Gallagher, Good opted for a radical prostatectomy. On November 11, 2014, his prostate gland and some surrounding tissue were surgically removed. Because the cancer had not spread outside of the prostate, he did not have need to have chemo- or radiation therapy.
Now, cancer-free for two-and-a-half years, Mark continues to raise awareness about prostate cancer and early detection.