It just took an untimely death of a good looking and well-loved singer to drive home the simple message to men about maintaining healthy prostate.

Dan Fogelberg, 56, one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the ’70s and ’80s, died peacefully last Sunday (16 December) in his home in Maine after battling advanced prostate cancer since being diagnosed in 2004

Dan Fogelberg in 1985Dan Fogelberg & wife Jean in 2003

As some media had put, his voice was indeed angelic, his music was powerful in its simplicity, his lyrics celebrated beauty and romance. I always remembered him for his songs “Longer” and “Leader of the Band” as they were both a one-time favourites in the karaoke pub that I used to hang out. I admired songwriters like him who can quickly capture an unusual encounter into a nice song and with an engaging storyline lyric. In his case, that work Same Old Lang Syne” turns into a top 10 hit in 1980 and it is still evergreen. For those who cannot remember this lyric, click here

It had been reported that in the United States, except lung cancer, prostate cancer is responsible for more male deaths than any other cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is least common among Asian men and most common among black men, with figures for white men in-between. Is these because the detection reporting is poorer in Asia or that Asian has traditional herbs such as “cat whiskers” that is reported to keep the urinary system cleaner and healthier?

Currently, there is no way to prevent the disease. There are indications men who drink and smoke have a higher chance of getting it in a virulent form. Most men will not experience any symptom while some men might experience symptoms like :-

  • A need to urinate frequently especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper highs

Since diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, he has been championing the anti-prostate cancer message via his website that:-

1. All men over 50 should get the so-called PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test and a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) test every year. It just takes a few minutes.
2. For men with a family history of prostate cancer, they should start getting tested at age 40.
3. Go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation website to read up on how best to protect yourself and reduce your likelihood of contracting this terrible disease. There is a comprehensive guide Report to the Nation on Prostate Cancer: A Guide for Men and Their Families which you can read online. Upon a registration, you can download a PDF or get a free printed copy.