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One man’s journey through prostate cancer and beyond

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014

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By Gervan Fearon

When we hear the term “prostate cancer,” many thoughts go through our minds.   We may think about the challenges associated with cancer yet we should also know there is hope.  I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about three years (2010) ago, just two days before Christmas, on December 23rd.  The diagnosis was the culmination of a period marked by internal bleeding, medicines, and medical testing.   In a strange way, I was glad to finally know what was wrong – knowledge is power – knowledge meant the power to start appropriate treatment and to move towards recovery.  I share my story simply to say thank you to family, friends and the medical teams that supported me throughout this journey.  I hope that I can be helpful to even one person who facesor knowssomeone facing these challenges.  

Prostate cancer affects thousands of men in Canada and our community every year.   Treatments are improving every day, side-effects are diminishing, and the chances of survival are all looking good.   Not everyone needs treatment or immediate treatment.   In my case, however, it was a race against time.   Early diagnosis and treatment provided the opportunity to remove all the cancer before it spread.    My new treatment started with an operation on January 19th.   The operation went well – I took my recovery one day at a time and some days were more challenging than others.   Still, I know that - like detection - treatment meant “hope.”  

After 10 weeks, I returned to work, slowly walking and even struggling to take a few steps.  Yet, I was happy because each step meant progress and recovery.   About a month later, I faced a new challenge as I needed radiation therapy to increase the chances that we addressed all the cancer.   For about two months, I went for my radiation therapy while still showing up to work every day.   All the medical teams were outstanding; nonetheless, the treatment should not be romanticized.

Cancer and, specifically, prostate cancer can seem daunting.   Do not let fear stand in your way of early detection and treatment.   Know the signs to watch for - slow, difficult, frequent, burning, and/or painful urination and/or blood in the urine or semen (source: Prostate Cancer Canada at   If you have any of these signs – please see a doctor.   Well-meaning suggestions from friends and others are not sufficient – see a doctor.   It is okay to be weak and afraid sometime but do not stop there – take action.  Support from friends and family is important; however, remember it is hard on those around you too so understanding goes both ways.   There is so much to celebrate in life.   My life’s journey is one of recovery, hope and thanks. 

Gervan Fearon is Vice-President (Academic and Provost) of Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba. He is the former Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University and former President of Tropicana Community Services in Toronto, Ontario.


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