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by Jamie Bearse   |   June 12, 2018

Shining a Light on Suicide and Prostate Cancer

It’s rage turned inside on yourself. Right before that moment hits, you’re convinced there are no options beside the ones you find unacceptable or bleak.

The suicide rate among prostate cancer patients is one in seven. I’m not a prostate cancer patient or survivor, but I’ve stepped to the edge of nothing. In my lifetime, it’s been about once per decade.

There’s no good reason for not talking about prostate cancer and suicide. A British study shows that men with urological cancers are three times more likely to be depressed or have anxiety than any other cancer.

Three childhood friends have killed themselves in my life. In each case, I can say that it has left their families broken forever. Much like we probably thought of Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade, I thought each of these friends had a great life and I wanted things for myself that I saw in them.

With suicide and depression, envy can be a deadly miscalculation of the way we see the relative value of the things in our lives. It tricks us into equating success or someone else’s apparent absence of challenge to happiness. Many lives are not as they appear.

Factoring cancer into that equation – especially one that hits below the belt – can cast a man’s life into a desperate chasm filled with all the things that us men don’t talk about: intimacy, providing for your family, and displacing the dreams of our children to be caretakers. When fueled with imagination, the list goes on.

But here’s the thing: The demons we live with only have as much as we feed them. The only demon we really need to overcome by ourselves is to say something to someone. You’re not alone. I’m here. ZERO is the family for you.

If you’re a prostate cancer patient or loved one, we have resources available to help you:

  • ZERO360: A free patient navigation program that cuts through financial and emotional obstacles to beating prostate cancer.
  • MENtor: A free, confidential program that matches you to another prostate cancer patient or survivor.
  • ZERO Connect: A closed group on Facebook of patients and caretakers to share experiences and lend help.