I Can’t Believe I’m Telling You This

I Can’t Believe I’m Telling You This

‘Hi everyone, I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and I’m feeling OK, if a bit nervous’, Martin types into the YANA (You Are Not Alone) web forum for people dealing with prostate cancer. A professor of Archaeology with an inquisitive mind, Martin wanted to know as much as possible about his options. He approached the web ‘not just for the scientific stuff..it’s also the emotional and lifestyle stuff’. The risks of incontinence, impotency and erectile dysfunction are ‘not easy to talk about with guys..on the internet I didn’t feel like I was taking my clothes off in public’. This embarrassment was what led prostate cancer to claim Horace’s father’s life. ‘He was most upset when he found out that some of his friends had had the cancer and never said anything..by the time he went to the doctor it was too late.’ When Horace himself was diagnosed his first thought was ‘Oh my God I’m going to die.’ But remembering his father’s experience, he began talking about it with other men on the internet. ‘It makes me feel better about the fact my PSA has got worse.’ At the end of the week Martin will have an operation to remove his prostate. He came to the decision after reading many other men’s testimonies on YANA. But he admits that the limitless stream of information on the internet can be misleading: ‘I thought that maybe an hours searching on Google’, laughs Martin, ‘and I’d discover that thing world class Urologists had missed’. But whether it’s advice, new developments or simple solidarity the men are looking for, many doctors now don’t see a conflict in the web. ‘It’s gone down. I feel quietly elated’ says Horace, as he clutches his PSA results. If the barriers to beating prostate cancer are as much social as they are scientific, ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Telling You This’ is a powerful story of hope for the 200,000 men it affects every year.