Every September, 30+ countries around the world hold a Terry Fox Run. Most Canadians know that Terry is a national hero, and we honour Terry’s legacy by mentioning the importance of cancer screening.

Did you know that September is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? As a men’s health clinic, we advocate for patients by recommending a prostate cancer test to rule out serious health issues at any time.

A Terry Fox Run

Let’s kick off today with an overview of Terry’s story and how fundraising from Terry Fox runs has made tremendous strides in cancer prevention.

How Terry’s Life Changed

Terry Fox came from Port Coquitlam, BC. He felt like just another regular kid playing sports with his friends, going to school, and coming home to his family. But at 18 years old, Terry was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, cancer just above the knee.

Terry ended up in a children’s cancer ward, and his leg was partially amputated. After that experience, Terry was determined to make a difference.

The Marathon of Hope

Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope

Terry Fox never set out to be famous. He came up with the Marathon of Hope because he wanted to fundraise for cancer research to beat every form of the disease. So Terry set out on his run across Canada.

Every day, Terry started running at 4:30 am. His goal was to run 42 kilometres (26 miles), and he kept up this punishing schedule through crushing snow, wind, rain, and sticky heat, running until 7 pm each night. 

Terry crossed Newfoundland, Labrador, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. He stopped in hundreds of cities and towns on the way, getting his story out about the Marathon of Hope.

Doug was Terry’s best friend, and Doug drove a van alongside Terry. Some nights, the two had to sleep in the vehicle because they had no extra money. On the route, they might encounter crowds of people who’d heard about Terry and wanted to cheer him on.

On other days, he ran alone.

But Terry remained hopeful that the country would hear about him and donate money to cancer research—and what he hoped for came true.

Cancer Prevention Was His Goal

Terry ran for 143 days over 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles). It was September 1, and he was near Thunder Bay, Ontario, when the second bout of cancer appeared in his lungs. But still, Terry courageously refused to give up.

In the hospital, he talked to reporters about the importance of fundraising for research toward cancer prevention. He’d raised over $1.7 million (a huge amount at that time), and he asked Canadians to keep supporting the Marathon of Hope.

The Terry Fox Run Lives On

At just 22 years old, Terry died on June 28, 1981. But people worldwide listened, and since then, we’ve continued to support Terry, with fundraising to date climbing over $850 million across Canada and globally.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September

Prostate cancer awareness month

In Canada, prostate cancer is second only to skin cancers in the number of men diagnosed with the disease, and it’s the third deadliest cancer in men. 

Here’s what you can do for your health and your family.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Effective tests are currently available for the early detection of prostate issues.

Prostate-Specific Antigens (PSA) 

A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigens in a blood sample. It’s important to know that PSA levels can get higher as men age, and other problems in the prostate may cause PSA to increase.

While a PSA can’t diagnose cancer directly, it does indicate if there’s a problem with the prostate that’s treatable or requires further investigation.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

During a DRE, the doctor examines the prostate through the rectum, noting suspicious lumps or unusual growths. 

Having a DRE and PSA done is the best way to screen for prostate cancer early when the disease is much easier to treat.

Follow-up Procedure

If testing finds a problem with the prostate, follow-up procedures are available to rule out prostate cancer. These include:

  • An additional PSA
  • A TRUS (transrectal ultrasound) delivers an image of the area (rectum, prostate, and other organs) to pinpoint any issues
  • A prostate biopsy takes tissue samples for examination in a medical lab.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Prostate cancer prevention

While there’s no current cure to avoid prostate cancer, we can tell you about significant ways to lower your risk.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise for your health and lowering your risk of serious medical conditions is worth getting off the couch! 

Make moderate exercise a goal, and aim for at least five days of regular weekly activity. If you’re wary, talk to your doctor or a specialist about the best exercises for you.

A Balanced Diet

Lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits, and veggies are rich in the nutrients your body needs for optimum health. In addition, try to cut back on red meats, sugars, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats.

Weight Control

Excess weight can cause many serious health issues. Talk to your doctor or specialist about the safest ways to lose weight for your best health!

OHN Honors the Terry Fox Run

Terry did everything in his power to fight cancer and spread the word. We believe communication is power at OHN, so check out our article on the Top 6 Common Men’s Health Issues

Current statistics tell us that, on average, twelve Canadian men with prostate cancer die daily. Therefore, men should schedule regular health checkups and be informed when to schedule a prostate cancer test. 

If you are concerned about any symptoms you’re experiencing, please see a doctor or specialist in cancer prevention. We’re proud of Terry Fox all year, not just in September during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. This year, the Terry Fox Run happens on September 18.

Lee, S., n.d. The 2 tests for prostate cancer you should know about. [online] Canadian Cancer Society. Available at: <https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/find-cancer-early/find-prostate-cancer/the-2-tests-for-prostate-cancer-you-should-know-about> [Accessed 10 August 2022].

Lee, S., 2021. Treatments for prostate cancer. [online] Canadian Cancer Society. Available at: <https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-types/prostate/treatment> [Accessed 10 August 2022].

Seladi-Schulman, J., 2022. How to Prevent Prostate Cancer: Health Tips and More. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/9-tips-to-prevent-prostate-cancer#takeaway> [Accessed 10 August 2022].

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. 2020. Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Prevention and Screening. [online] Available at: <https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/hitting-the-headlines/2020/09/09/prostate-cancer-awareness-month-prevention-and-screening#> [Accessed 10 August 2022].

The Terry Fox Foundation. 2021. Learn about Terry Fox. [online] Available at: <https://terryfox.org/terrys-story/> [Accessed 10 August 2022].

Oakwood Health Network. 2022. Let’s Raise Awareness About World Cancer Day – Oakwood Health Network. [online] Available at: <https://oakwoodhealth.com/raise-awareness-about-world-cancer-day/> [Accessed 10 August 2022].