LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month. Typically, when one thinks of prostate cancer, it is associated with older men, the average age at the time of diagnosis being around 66, according to the American Cancer Society.
Although one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, black men are impacted by this disease at a greater rate.
In fact, statistics indicate that one in five Black men will be personally affected by the silent disease in their lifetime. And if left untreated, Black men are 2.4 times likely to die from the disease, when compared to White males.
In 2017, Shelby Celestine was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate cancer. Since then, he said it’s been an ongoing fight that surprisingly has more good days than bad.
For more than five years he wondered why he was in so much pain, that’s when a doctor diagnosed him with cancer. Celestine is now sharing his story in hopes that it will help someone else.
The 66-year-old pushes himself every day through the aches and pains that come with having stage 4 prostate cancer.
“They ran some tests and told me 'Mr. Celestine, you have prostate cancer, and that was September 1st of 2107 and that was the first I ever heard of it..heard of it in the way that they were telling me..this wasn’t no guess..this is what you got," said Celestine.
Prostate cancer is usually known as a silent disease, since symptoms might not appear, until the later stages.
“For years we didn’t have a clue,” Celestine said.
For Celestine, the statistics surrounding the disease are just numbers, which he and his family plan to tackle head on.
“Some days he doesn’t feel like doing anything but we stay on him," said Pamela Celestine, Shelby’s wife. "We can’t let him give up so we stay on him.”
Although Celestine is still writing the chapters of his own story, he hopes it will help someone along the way.
He recently started another round of chemotherapy but said he’s hopeful he will be ringing the bell soon.
The Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (LCCCP), whose mission is to increase awareness about preventable cancers, and other health experts now recommend that men discuss their particular situation and risk factors with their doctors starting at age 50 (45 for black men).
If You Have Symptoms, Consult Your Doctor Right Away
There is no question that if you are exhibiting symptoms, you need to see your doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms include:
· Difficulty starting urination or emptying the bladder completely
· Weak or interrupted flow of urine
· Frequent urination, especially at night
· Pain or burning during urination
· Blood in the urine or semen
· Pain the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away
· Painful ejaculation
Men should keep in mind, however, that these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, that symptoms can vary from man to man, and that some men won’t have any symptoms, so it’s always best to consult with your doctor.
That’s especially true if you are older, black, or had a father, brother or son with prostate cancer, as those characteristics are all risk factors for the disease.