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'It was just a bolt of lightning,' Cancer survivor shares story during prostate cancer awareness month

Data shows more than 3 million men are living with prostate cancer in the U.S.
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Posted at 6:21 AM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 06:21:05-04

CLEVELAND — New survey results from the Cleveland Clinic’s seventh annual educational campaign, MENtion It, shows many men frequently do not mention their health issues or take the necessary steps to prevent them.

About one-third of men say they have never been screened for prostate, bladder, or testicular cancer.

55% of men say they don’t get regular health screenings.

The majority of men don’t know their family history when it comes to urological issues and cancers, according to the study.

The survey was released at a critical time--during September's Prostate Cancer Awareness month when survivors are speaking out and sharing their cautionary tales.

Soon-to-be grandfather of two Chuck Montufar, 68, lives an active life, surrounded by his wife and daughters.

Nothing, he says, slows him down.

Recently, his health stopped him in his tracks.

"It was just a bolt of lightning. Never, ever. You know, here's the other thing, too. I never had any symptoms. I felt great. I had no pain," said Montufar.

Montufar had been getting regular physicals with his primary care physician for as long as he can remember.

Despite feeling great--his blood work showed something was seriously off.

"Early January and we got the blood, we get the results back a week or so later and it showed as they have pretty significant cancer," said Montufar.

The results showed prostate cancer.

The cancer was luckily caught early thanks to a PSA screening and subsequent MRI.

Doctor Samuel Haywood, a Urologic Oncologist in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute with the Cleveland Clinic, successfully treated the cancer with a robotic Prostatectomy.

He says Montufar's proactive approach to going to the doctor for regular checkups and sense of urgency was critical.

"Early detection is really key for not just your life cancers, but also for all for many health risks that men face," said Haywood.

Montufar credits the Cleveland Clinic's top-tier doctors and nurses for saving his life.

What's so alarming and very common, according to officials, is Montufar displayed no symptoms and had no pain--like many prostate cancer patients.

Data shows more than three million men are living with prostate cancer in the U.S.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

More than 268,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 34,500 men are expected to die of the disease in 2022.

"More than half of men are not going through regular health screening with the physician. And more alarming is the fact this is even more prevalent among men of color," said Haywood.

Black men are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

Non-profit "ZERO--the end of prostate cancer" reports that one in seven Black men will develop prostate cancer over time.

They are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed and 2.1 times more likely to die than white men.

Experts say genetics, lack of healthcare, and medical bias are contributing to the disparities.

Montufar says he feels immensely blessed to have his health back.

He has a strong message for anyone who feels nervous or scared.

"You need to have a conversation with a doctor. Bottom line."

Doctors start checking for prostate cancer around age 55.

If it's caught early the survival rate is 99%.