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Greg is eight years prostate cancer free. He has been a peer-to-peer counsellor for the Prostate Cancer Centre for seven years. Of all the males on his mom’s side, he’s the seventh to have had prostate cancer, and it killed two of his uncles. As a gay man, he offers a unique perspective. His prostate cancer experience was made different because of lack of resources for gay men. A reminder that inclusivity in health care is critical to ensuring all patients get the quality of care and support they deserve.


You never really know what’s going on inside your body and how fast cells are multiplying, in a deadly way.

One year my PSA was 3 and my doctor didn’t worry about it. The following year, I had a new doctor and when he saw my PSA was 5, he worried a lot. And it was when the urologist reviewed my tests, gave me a prostate exam, and then suggested a biopsy, that I got scared.

I remember the way he said ‘biopsy’ four times over the course of our chat that I finally asked…is this cancer?

The day after Thanksgiving 2015, I had my biopsy and by November, I had my cancer diagnosis. I was 53 and my cancer was considered intermediate. I had no idea what that meant.

I was naïve and didn’t know much about prostate cancer. Once I got into the Prostate Cancer Centre I learned more about my diagnosis and treatment options.

In early December I got an appointment with an oncologist and we agreed I was a really good candidate for brachytherapy. One month after the surgery my PSA rose to 8. I went back to the oncologist and was told that 60% of cancer cells were active and multiplying.

He said ‘you need to take this seriously and decide fairly quickly what you want to do. Within three to four months, your PSA could be higher and then certain procedures won’t be available. The cancer will spread if you choose to do nothing’.

I was scared beyond belief. What made it even worse was that as a gay man, they didn’t really know what prostate cancer would look like for me. The research, resource materials, language – everything related to prostate cancer – was tailored to the heterosexual male who had a female partner.

I felt lost, alone and confused. I felt like there was no one I could really talk to who would understand my situation. But also, I felt embarrassed to ask really personal questions. I did some research and found very little. It was depressing, shocking and was just creating more anxiety.

Post-surgery, I did find research out of the U.K. that said depending on the role you take in sexual intercourse, the wait time for sex could be a year. In my case, it was almost two years. The aftermath was not expected, because nobody could tell me.

As a peer-to-peer counsellor, I encourage people to ask the highly personal questions, the ones you’re a little bit too embarrassed to ask your doctor. I have found it’s easier to do it over the phone than in person.

It’s been a joyful experience being able to coach and console men who have been newly diagnosed. I’ve chatted with about 50 people over the years and I try really hard to get them to laugh. I joke that if the prostate cancer doesn’t kill you, the stress of finding parking at the hospital will. Or I tell them my story of losing urinary control in a parking garage – not to scare, but to make them laugh.

I want to reassure them about what to expect from diagnosis to post-treatment, and I want them to feel comfortable asking or telling me anything.

What I tell men now is focus on your overall health. Sleep well, get physically fit, eat well. It’s true that the more fit you are going into surgery, chances are you’ll bounce back faster.

And probably my biggest advice is this: Just do something about it. If you don’t have the luxury of being on active surveillance, just do something about it. And go in with eyes wide open.

And call me, or someone on that peer-to-peer list, as soon as you get your diagnosis.