Legendary Baseball All-Star and World Series champion Ken Griffey Sr. knows the toll prostate cancer can take on a man and his family. After losing four uncles to the disease, Ken Sr. was always vocal about his prostate health, until his own diagnosis in 2006 showed him how difficult speaking up about the issue can be. Ken Sr. credits the help of his family with helping him become more comfortable speaking up about the disease and keeping tabs on potential symptoms that could be important to flag to his doctor.
“It can be a tough situation if you don’t have anybody to fall back on and my biggest thing was that my wife and family were very supportive, especially my wife,” Ken Sr. shared during a recent interview with BlackDoctor.org. “She had all the answers, or actually, all the questions when I went to see the doctor and she made sure that I went to see the doctor.”
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the US. About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime, but the odds increase if they are African American and double if they have a family history. While most cases may be treatable, some will progress (advanced prostate cancer) and become life-threatening.
As the new spokesperson for Bayer’s Men Who Speak Up program with son and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., Ken Sr. is celebrating Men’s Health Week and the tenth Father’s Day since his diagnosis by doing for others with prostate cancer what his family did for him: encouraging men across the country to feel more comfortable speaking up about prostate cancer, especially if the disease advances and symptoms crop up.
“Don’t be macho,” is Ken Sr’s biggest advice to men, particularly Black men, when it comes to getting over those fears about going to the doctor and having real conversations. He explained, “I think a lot of men don’t want to talk about things that are happening to them that they can’t control.” As his story proves, early diagnosis can be life saving.
To learn more about the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, and what Ken Sr did to manage his condition and become a cancer survivor, take a look at the video and visit MenWhoSpeakUp.com.