Five years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Iain Cullen has a lot to celebrate.
Not only has he been rid of the disease for half a decade, but this year Cullen’s Do it for Dad event raised the most money ever, which Cullen plans to donate to ensure other men are as lucky as him.
Cullen started the Do It for Dad awareness walks in 2008 after overcoming the disease and has held it each year since on the eve of Father’s Day. This year’s event was held in conjunction with Farwest Sports’ 40th anniversary celebration, where the store held a “Fit for forty” contest that assisted in raising additional funds for the cause.
All together $1,200 was raised this year, the most Farwest has ever collected for cancer research. Cullen is sending the funds to the Vancouver Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital in honour of Norman Barker, a local longtime firefighter, who passed away from cancer a few months ago after his prostate cancer spread.
“I would like to urge men over forty to get [their prostate-specific antigen] levels tested once a year. They just take a little bit of blood from you, and test it. You’ll get results back in a couple of days and that gives you your benchmark,” explained Cullen.
After having his PSA level checked for a number of years, in 2007 Cullen saw a gradual increase in his levels and was advised to get a biopsy test done. Cullen went to a specialist in Vancouver, and after a series of biopsy tests he and his doctor decided to have his prostate removed.
“Ever since I’ve been fine. I’ve had my PSA test done every six months since and it’s always been very low,” he said.
Cullen has become somewhat of a spokesman for prostate cancer awareness in the community and continues to encourages men to get tested for the disease by going to their doctors and requesting to have a PSA test done.
“A lot of men don’t want to go to the doctor, they think they’re fine because there’s virtually no symptoms to prostate cancer,” said Cullen, mentioning in the days prior to his surgery he was playing squash.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has claimed that there is little evidence that PSA testing saves lives, and that when many men get tiny tumours that wouldn’t have ever killed them treated it can cause an arrangement of negative side effects. Cullen says that these reports are “full of bologna”.