Jeff Perlman is a PR exec in Southern California. He’s 58, very funny, smart and humble. There is a saying that he likes to repeat over and over again: If you’re reactive, then you’re out of business. It means that if you’re not taking the initiative and being proactive, then you’re not doing your job. And that goes for your health as well, especially when it comes to prostate cancer.
Some call prostate cancer “the silent disease.” Very often, it has no early warning signs or symptoms that indicate that there might be something wrong. That’s why, if you’re a man of a certain age and family history, you need to get a PSA test done to screen for prostate cancer. And to know when to do that, you need to know your personal risk and to talk it through with your doctor.
Jeff knew about his sister’s fight against breast cancer and his mother’s battle with colon cancer. But, what he didn’t know about was his uncle’s diagnosis with prostate cancer (he learned about it after his diagnosis). But, being a man after 50, Jeff was regularly screened for prostate cancer and then earlier this year in April 2018, his PSA spiked, possibly indicating prostate cancer. After an MRI and then a biopsy, he was diagnosed. This past September, Jeff had a successful robotic-guided prostatectomy. With no side effects after his surgery and with a good diagnosis in hand, Jeff now has a new message that he wants to help promote: Get tested!
“The most important thing is to gather information — information about your family history and risks for prostate cancer. Find out more about the options you have for treatment and find other men to talk about it who have gone through, or are going through it, for support,” Jeff says. “If you’re not finding out when to have a PSA test and you’re not getting one, then you’re playing Russian Roulette with your life!”
Jeff is right. Men need know their family history with cancer. Because prostate cancer is genetically related to at least 27 other cancers, cancer in fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles is very important when you consider that prostate cancer rarely has symptoms. A simple PSA test with a yearly physical can make a huge difference to get treated for a disease that has a 99% cure rate if caught early.
Feeling obligated now to help other men, Jeff wants to help raise awareness to men of all ages to know their risks for prostate cancer, whether that’s men themselves or sons with a family history of cancer. He also knows the need for a support network that can help men with everything that comes after a prostate cancer diagnosis: referrals to the best doctors, support and care. His work includes supporting the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Many vs Cancer initiative, a grass roots effort to help raise money to fund research for prostate cancer treatments and one day hopefully, a cure.
At PCF, we are excited to have amazing people like Jeff who want to raise awareness and money for amazing prostate cancer research! A prostate cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be the end and people like Jeff Perlman are proof that you can be an advocate for prostate cancer awareness before, during and after treatment to help other men thought this process.
For more information, visit pcf.org.