October 16th, 2011

Movember helps to raise not only funds, but also awareness for men's health and cancer affecting them. Our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas all support the Mo for a reason, and their stories are hopeful and inspiring. Mo Bro Dan Zenka shares his Mo journey story with us.

Mo Bro Spotlight: Dan Zenka
Nothing pulls the rug out from under you and your family like a diagnosis of cancer. After two years of heading up the communications efforts for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, I received my own diagnosis at age 51. How ironic is that? I thought to myself… the communicator had become the subject. Perhaps life isn’t as random as we often think.
Was I surprised? Yes. Shocked? No. Having worked with the numbers for two years, I knew 1 out of 6 American are diagnosed with this cancer. Someone has to be that “1.” Why shouldn’t it be me?
Within six weeks of my initial diagnosis, I underwent a radical prostatectomy. One week later, I was given an upgrade I would have preferred to decline: my post-op pathology indicated Stage 4 metastatic cancer. It had spread to my lymph nodes where single Gleason 5 cells were identified. My journey led me to seven weeks of radiation therapy and two to three years of androgen deprivation therapy to cut production of my testosterone—a fuel that feeds prostate cancer growth and proliferation. Any man who has endured hormone therapy knows what a wild ride it can be!
My passionate career quickly morphed into an avocation. Within two days of my diagnosis my cancer blog, www.mynewyorkminute.org, was born. Having spent two years of my life telling men and their families that we need to make prostate cancer something to talk about, it was a moral imperative. To not talk about my experiences and reach out to fellow patients would have been nothing short of hypocrisy.

This journey does have it upside. I have met many wonderful patients, families, research scientists and advocates for funding better treatments and cures for this disease. I am particularly fond of my friends at Movember and the energetic and compassionate Mo Bro’s and Mo Sista’s around the world who work tirelessly each year to raise crucial funding and awareness that will save lives. They also represent a youthful new perspective that is changing perceptions and attitudes about prostate cancer.
More progress has been made in prostate cancer research in the past 18 months than in the previous decade. Movember’s support for key research projects will continue to accelerate discovery and move us closer to the day when we can cure more and overtreat less.
Movember gives 16 million men around the world—like me—and their families—like mine—hope that even those with advanced disease can survive prostate cancer in growing numbers.

Okay, I can’t grow my own Mo because of my treatment. But, isn’t photoshop a wonderful thing?

Have your own Mo Story? Share it with us here.