Spurred by his own experiences with prostate cancer, Kent Taylor, CRNA
, organized a golf outing to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. Seventy-two men participated in the Sept. 12 event at A.L. Gustin Golf Course, Columbia, Mo., raising more than $12,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In addition, Safeway, Inc., matched the amount for another $12,000 donation. Taylor said the day also achieved its goal of getting men to speak more openly about prostate cancer. He plans to make it an annual event.
“It was a lot better [than my expectations],” said Taylor. He said a representative from the Prostate Cancer Foundation attended the event and was amazed by the turnout. “He said first-timers will take notice and people who have [participated in events] for years will take notice.”
In September 2008, the hospital where Taylor works installed new laboratory equipment. Staff members came to the Anesthesia Department and were looking for male volunteers for blood draws so they could calibrate the new machines. He volunteered, and, about a week later, went to the lab and looked over the test results. The lab tech told him his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was elevated at 2.0. He was 53 at the time and, after 3-to-4 years of following the usual course of serial PSAs, had two biopsies that showed low-grade, low-volume prostate cancer.
Taylor read about golfer Arnold Palmer being a 20-year prostate cancer survivor and how he started a golf awareness program called, “Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer.” He contacted the Prostate Cancer Foundation in Santa Monica, Calif., and began organizing his own event connected with the PCF and Arnie’s Army. After many meetings and phone calls, the “Battle Columbia” golf day was a reality.
He said one of his reasons in organizing the day was to distract himself from his own circumstances.
“To just get involved,” he added. “Women are so well organized about getting the word out about breast cancer. Men tend to not be very organized.”
Four days after the golf tournament, Taylor’s PSA had risen to 7.7, close enough to the level of 8 that he and his surgeon decided was the time for treatment. A specialist in robotic surgery removed his prostate and, after only two weeks, he was recovered.
Taylor hopes all men will get screened for prostate cancer and speak openly and honestly about it to support others who might be at risk.
“I think it’s just fear,” he said. The effects of the golf day’s awareness efforts were evident firsthand to Taylor.
“I received six phone calls from guys who found out they had prostate cancer and said, ‘Hey, can we have coffee and talk,’” he said. Taylor plans to move the event to a different golf club in the area each year, but keep it in September, which is prostate cancer awareness month.