Spotlight Nonprofit: Raising awareness among young men that prostate cancer isn’t just an “old man’s” disease

LatinaLista — Prostate cancer has long been considered an “old man’s disease.” Not anymore if Gabe Canales has his way.

Only 35-years-old when he received news that he had the “‘blue’ men’s side of the ‘pink’ campaign for women’s breast cancer,” Houston-native Canales didn’t know anything about the organ or that kind of cancer — so he learned. He discovered that prostate cancer is more common than breast cancer, usually strikes men over the age of 50 and is the most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men.

Shaped like a doughnut and weighing about an ounce, the prostate gland, Canales learned, is just below the bladder, behind the pubic bone and just in front of the rectum. It helps control the flow of urine and is one of the organs involved in the production of semen.

When the prostate becomes cancerous it means the cells in the prostate are abnormal and growing at an uncontrollable rate, forming tumors. As a result, there are a list of symptoms that signal the disease, if a person knew what to look for.

Canales hadn’t known what to look for. It was by accident that he was discovered to have the disease. Wanting to find others who shared the same diagnosis, Canales, founder of his own marketing and PR company, knew what he had to do — create a Facebook page. “Journey with Prostate Cancer” was created and before he knew it over 7,000 people had signed on for the education and mutual support they found there.

Because of the success of that Facebook page, Canales was inspired to launch the Blue Cure Foundation.

The organization’s mission is to save lives. It strives towards this goal by promoting education about the cancer, especially among college-age men, encouraging preventative measures that include “anti-cancer” dietary and lifestyle habits, advocate for increased research funding and serves as a virtual forum for support and information-sharing among survivors.

In 2012, it is estimated that there will be 241,740 new cases and over 28,000 deaths caused by the disease because those men and their families didn’t know enough to recognize the symptoms.

I’m devoting the rest of my life to raising awareness and saving lives… Our goal is to raise awareness of prostate cancer, encourage annual screenings, promote healthier lifestyles for preventative measures and reach a younger generation — Gabe Canales.

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