ZERO champion and retired Army Colonel Paul Taylor is encouraging prostate cancer patients and their families to be proactive about their diagnosis. He also wants to emphasize the importance of men being tested for prostate cancer early.
Col. Taylor was first diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer while serving in the U.S. military in 2012. He found out his PSA levels were high and his cancer was already metastatic. However, like many other diagnosed veterans, he did not have any symptoms. A routine military screening saved Taylor’s life.
“No one should ever end up like me,” Paul warns.“The goal is to discover prostate cancer before it becomes metastatic.” Taylor says he was lucky to have responded well to his treatment, but having late stage cancer is risky and should be avoided through early testing.
Taylor also stresses the importance of communicating with family members and doctors. He had a family history which put him at a higher risk. In spite of that, it was never discussed because his father had a less aggressive form of prostate cancer. While it is helpful to talk about risks before diagnosis, it is even more important to have an open line of communication with your doctor after being diagnosed. Yet, Paul points out that men can feel pressured by military culture to try to go through cancer alone. He hopes that men can be less reluctant to talk about their disease so that they can get the care they need.
Paul chose to take charge when diagnosed with prostate cancer. Instead of settling with the first treatment options offered, Paul took initiative to do his own research and educate himself with the help of ZERO and ZERO’s partners so that he could make informed choices. He even changed doctors when he felt that a more involved doctor could help him and his wife make educated decisions. Paul also encourages patients to speak to their doctors about participating in clinical trials.
Additionally, Paul expresses his appreciation for his wife and patient support groups. They have been meaningful sources of emotional support and mentorship throughout his cancer journey. He also urges patients to find a community of people who have gone through similar experiences. The mutual understanding and love from a family such as ZERO has helped immensely in Paul’s prostate cancer journey. He hopes that no man should have to endure prostate cancer alone.