BOOKER EDGERSON

A personal story:

There are a lot of lives and families that have been touched by cancer. We should encourage and embrace current cancer research, especially Prostate Cancer prevention, treatment and awareness.

 

There is a closer connection than most people would imagine between NFL players and the male population, since all males are potentially at risk for contracting this dreaded disease.

 

The Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation, along with local businesses, community based organizations and individuals, all have a personal stake in this project.

 

As a prostate cancer survivor, there is not a day that goes by that at some point I do not think about how fortunate I am that I visited my doctors regularly, checking to see if I had any health issues, which also included PSA level and colon readings.

 

I remember being told after my treatment that I was cancer free; however, my inner-sense was that once you have cancer, there is always a chance that traces of the cancer will be lurking around somewhere in your body.

 

October is a special month to raise the awareness for Breast Cancer for women and is celebrated by the National Football League and the American Cancer Society throughout the 32 NFL cities and the United States.

 

It would be only fitting to have September (which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month) as a special month for Prostate Cancer Awareness.

 

Since the NFL is played only by men, men are the ones who play the game of football, and Prostate Cancer is a male-born disease. At some point in their lives, they or people in their lives – their grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends and friends of friends - may contract prostate problems.

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-• MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN •-

-• REALITY •-

My greatest check with reality was when I was diagnosed with early detection

of Prostate Cancer in 1996.  My doctor called me into his office and told me that

I may have Prostate Cancer because my PSA level was higher than it should be.

 

To my surprise, I was not fazed with this prognosis. It didn’t scare me.  I didn’t panic.  My immediate thought was to find out what I needed to do to just get rid of it.  He then said that my chance of beating this terrible disease was very good, because it appeared that it was detected at an early stage.

 

However, we still needed to get a biopsy to validate the PSA test.  He stated that a positive biopsy test would be great; but, if it came back negative, there are quite a few options that would be available to me.  The biopsy came back a few days later, and it was negative.  Next, I met with my urologist to discuss my condition.   After about an hour-and-half, he suggested that I get a second opinion - which I did.  The second opinion confirmed my doctor’s diagnosis.  At that point, I started to read any and all material I could get my hands on, made phone calls and/or talked to at least 30 individuals who had also experienced this disease.  These individuals range from the average Joe to professional athletes, people in the Entertainment business, businessmen, and even a priest.

 

I had great support from my family, friends and just good old down-to-earth Bills football fans. I researched all my treatment options and got another (third) opinion before choosing a doctor that specialized in prostate cancer.

I also asked a few doctors to recommend an anesthesiologist once I made my decision.  I asked her a few questions, which she answered very well, and she assured me that she would take very good care of me.

 

Once I did my research, I made my decision as to what procedure would best suit my needs and would not interfere with my quality of life, my Job, or my future.  The procedure was successful; and I never looked back.

 

Oh, lest I forget to mention, the night before my surgery, I threw a party for myself with my family and friends. We all had a great time, and the next morning at 7 a.m. there were eight to 10 people at the hospital wishing me well.  That is what I consider people who really cared about me. Of course, there were a few of my friends who were employed at the hospital and coordinated most of my medical needs.  This bump in the road made me refocus on my lifestyle a little.  I was happy to say that I was cancer free since April 1997 and living the good life.

 

**My advice to all men over the age of 40 - have a prostate screening by your doctor;

   this screening will increases awareness and foster prevention for you and those you care most about.

-• CURE THE BLUE -1- •-

 

I have had a goal for quite a few years to promote Prostate Cancer Awareness, especially to minority males. In 1996 I myself was diagnosed and treated for this disease.

 

For the past few years, I have been watching how the NFL has been promoting Breast Cancer - not only during the month of October but year-round.  I also noted how extremely successful the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event has gone (again Breast Cancer).

 

It occurred to me that the National Football League, the owners, the National Football League Players Association and the current players should support/promote Prostate Cancer Month, as well as Breast Cancer Month, because these men on the playing field are the same men who are more likely to contract this dreaded disease at some point in their future. The NFL and the NFLPA have numerous opportunities to not only support a cause that is essential to the National Football League and to the men who play the game but to market it as well.

-• PROSTATE CANCER •-

 This could be a game changer in getting the word out to males. It is about awareness - that they should get a thorough prostate checkup once a year starting at age 40, especially black and other minority males. October is a special month to raise the awareness for Breast Cancer for women and is celebrated by the National Football League and the American Cancer Society throughout the 32 NFL cities and the United States. It would be only fitting to have September (which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month) as a special month for Prostate Cancer Awareness since the NFL is played only by men, men are the ones who play the game of football, and Prostate Cancer is a male-born disease. At some point in their lives, they or people in their lives - their grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends and friends of friends - may contract prostate problems. The short and long-term solution is to make men aware of Prostate Cancer and the necessary screenings, and change their way of thinking about getting regular checkups. These events would be held each year throughout the league during September, and other fundraising events also would be held to enable research of this cancer in accord with the American Urology Association Research Foundation. I believe the time has come for the owners, NFL, NFLPA, and current players to intervene and make this a priority. A message from the owners, NFL, NFLPA and the current players would give greater accountability and clarity to promote national concern. I have talked with many people, businessmen and organizations that support such a program. I encourage all owners, NFL and NFLPA, and current players to rally around the American Urology Association and the American Cancer Society to dedicate time, resources and funding to make this a reality. The passage of this program would have a great impact for males and would ensure a pathway to showcase Prostate Cancer and raise research dollars for the prevention of Prostate Cancer. This coming September (Prostate Cancer Awareness Month), I would like to see an attempt at promoting THIS cause in in much the same way as is given to Breast Cancer Awareness. More than 240,000 American men were diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2011, making it the nation’s most-diagnosed tumor, according to the American Cancer Society. Minorities are more likely to contract Prostate Cancer. The current rate is six out of every 10 for minority men who will be diagnosed with this dreaded disease.

-• CURE THE BLUE -2- •-

There are a lot of lives and families that have been touched by cancer.  We should encourage and embrace current cancer research, especially Prostate Cancer prevention, treatment and awareness.

 

There is a closer connection than most people would imagine between NFL players and the male population, since all males are potentially at risk for contracting this dreaded disease. The Bills Alumni Foundation, along with local businesses, community-based organizations, and individuals, all have a personal stake in this project.

 

There is not a day that goes by that at some point I do not think about how fortunate I am that I visited my doctors regularly, checking to see if I had any health issues, which also included PSA level and colon readings.  I remember being told after my treatment that I was cancer free; however, my inner-sense was that once you have cancer, there is always a chance that traces of the cancer will be lurking around somewhere in your body.

-• SECONDS ANYONE •-

 

After 17 years with no problems, however, I was again diagnosed with this insidious disease.  Once again I met the challenge head on.  My doctors suggested that I start a 39-step radiation program, which was comprised of five days a week for approximately two months, having week-ends off, which I greatly anticipated.  I was, like many others, determined to defeat this monster, and I did it the best way I knew how, the same way I fought my way through the American/ National Football League and life after football.  I did it with intense patience, knowledge, awareness and belief in my doctors, just as my belief in my coaches lead to my success not only in sports but in my personal life.

 

Was I surprised?  Yes and no.   Yes because it had been 17 years since my first procedure was performed, and my PSA was always stable.  My health was excellent. I was not totally surprised, however, because I just was not feeling like myself.  My energy level began to decline for no reason at all, and I began to feel the drain just waking up in the morning before going to work out.  It took me longer to get myself together - longer than usual.

 

I was the Bills Alumni/Former NFLPA Players president for the past three years, and I was rationalizing that my involvement was draining my energy.  However, I also thought that I should go and see my doctor because, after my last blood work checkup, my PSA had been going up slightly.  After seeing my doctor, he suggested that I go see my urologist, which I did immediately.  He performed a digital examination, at which point he felt a small nodule and decided to perform a biopsy.

 

Later that day, I was unable to urinate because of the biopsy and was in great pain.  I went to the hospital to get some relief, but they were unable to help me.  They were able to contact my doctor, however, who was on his way to a social function which happened to be in the neighborhood of the hospital.  He came in and fixed the immediate problem.  This was definitely a good thing because the pain of not being able to relieve myself was getting extremely painful.

 

Going forward, my urologist sent me to have an MRI to see if the cancer had spread/metastasized to other parts of my body or in my bones.  The results from my MRI proved to be negative (to my relief).

 

It was determined that I proceed with preparations to get the proper treatment that would bring my cancer into remission.

 

The doctor gave me a Lupron shot to neutralize and shrink the cancer cells.

 

My doctor referred me to an oncologist in the South towns.  After reviewing my records and examining me, he told me that I had stage 3 cancer and that if I had waited any longer my chances for survival would not have been very good.

 

After a long conversation/discussion, he stated that radiation treatment was the proper procedure. I agreed, and we started the treatments almost immediately.  I received 39 radiation treatments every day for five days a week over a two-month period from April to June, 2013.

 

Everything went well, and, as of this date, my cancer is in remission.  I am very grateful to all of my doctors, specialists, professional assistants, nurses, and support staff.  They were all very supportive and made me feel as if I was their only patient.

 

-• CURE THE BLUE •-

Prostate Cancer. Be tough! Talk about it! Let's raise awareness and "Cure the Blue"

 

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