More than a few years ago, ZERO launched an awareness campaign featuring a gruff, wisecracking walnut. He was a tough guy with a colorful vocabulary that was not very family-friendly. But he had a very important message for men: get regular prostate check-ups. Why not have a walnut spokesperson to end prostate cancer? After all, the prostate is shaped like a walnut.
The walnut was a way to get men talking about their health, about going to the doctor, and oh yeah, sexual function. While the walnut campaign came and went, men are still hesitant to discuss the private matter of their prostate. Whether from a walnut, a wall post, or more likely, the women they love, men need to hear how a PSA test can save their lives.
At ZERO, we are feverishly on the frontlines spreading the word about the risks of prostate cancer. Thankfully, we have seen positive changes in the way men talk about the disease with their families, friends, and colleagues. Men with prostate cancer aren’t hiding in dark corners having conversations in hushed tones. They are taking a stand and are seeking out other men to educate them and make sure male relatives know their risk.
No better example of how far we have come was the recent story of actor Ben Stiller. In October 2016, he went on the Howard Stern Show with his doctor to share his prostate cancer journey and highlight how a simple PSA test saved his life. Diagnosed at age 50, Stiller also reminded us that this disease strikes younger men as well. He continues to make headlines and now prostate cancer will be a part of the story.
Stiller joins a chorus of voices that continue to grow in numbers and volume. We have the honor of showcasing many prostate cancer patients stories on our website. With their messages of hope and strength, they are ZERO’s Heroes.
It turns out we didn’t need a nut to crack open the conversation on prostate cancer. We needed a few brave men to share how having prostate cancer doesn’t make you any less of a man.