The Grapevine

Man’s Viral Photo Shows The Importance Of Getting Screened For Prostate Cancer

Kurt Jewson
Kurt Jewson stands in front of his mirror, showing the world the effects of not getting tested early enough for prostate cancer. Facebook

Kurt Jewson didn’t follow up on tests after he found blood in his urine; now he’s trying to raise awareness to prevent others from making the same mistake.

The Internet is often a source of time-wasting, but the beauty of social media lies in its ability to make important things go viral — like Jewson’s post to raise awareness about prostate cancer. Jewson, a 44-year-old from the U.K., posted a Facebook photo of himself strapped with a catheter and colostomy bag during his prostate cancer treatment. The post was subsequently shared across thousands of pages and news sites, relaying his message for men to recognize symptoms early.

“Why am I posting this?” Jewson writes. “Well, in the summer of 2014 I had blood in my urine. Went to the GP and he said that it was probably just an infection and would clear up. It did. However, it wasn’t an infection. It was a symptom of Prostate Cancer.”

Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (though Prostate Cancer UK has that number at one in eight). And while survival rates for prostate cancer are quite high, waiting too late to be diagnosed — especially if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body — can be devastating.

“If I had known earlier, then my treatment and prognosis would have been so different,” Jewson writes. Some of the symptoms including a need to pee more frequently, a weak urine flow, and other abnormalities with peeing. You’re more likely to develop prostate cancer if you’re older or have a family history of prostate cancer, but as Jewson notes, “Prostate cancer is becoming more prevalent in ‘younger’ men. Men our age.”

Younger men are urged to take part in preventive measures earlier in order to avoid diagnosis. Some research has shown that frequent ejaculation may reduce a man’s prostate cancer risk, but typically a healthy, low-fat diet that’s rich in fish and vegetables, as well as adherence to exercise, will do the trick.

Jewson ends his post on a lighthearted note: “Sorry to be so serious, but 1 in 8 of you (for that’s how many men will get prostate cancer), will bloody thank me one day!”

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