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Man Uses Humor in Prostate Cancer Awareness Campaign

   |  Posted May 25th, 2005 @ 5:20pm



 

Keith McCord Reporting

You've probably seen the Utah Health Department commercial urging men to contact their doctor about Prostate Cancer. In terms of cancer-related deaths, Prostate Cancer is the second leading killer of men in Utah. This story is about a Salt Lake man who's started his own prostate cancer awareness campaign, and he's using humor to do it.

The laughter isn't the result of some one-liners delivered by a professional comedian. It's coming a University of Utah English Professor, who is talking about his experience with prostate cancer.

Jeff Metcalf: "It's not something that men talk about, you know, 'how about the Utes this year, and how's your prostate?' You know, it doesn't work itself into conversation."

Jeff Metcalf discovered that he had cancer following a routine physical last year. During the months of doctor visits and procedures, Metcalf kept track of his experiences in his journal.

Jeff Metcalf: "And I started to look in my journal at the extracts from the journal, and I noticed on a day to day basis there was always humor in it."

For him humor was one way of coping with the disease, and all the poking and prodding that he was going through. With the idea that this is a subject that needs to be talked about more than it is, he wrote a one-act play about it, making fun of everything from the immodest hospital gowns, to the strange medical instruments that doctors used on him.

Jeff Metcalf: "And they have this gun, and it goes click, and this thing comes out and takes a slice out of your prostate, they hook it and they pull it out. And they do 18 of those!"

He started performing the play and word spread. Now he's getting calls from around the country-- from medical groups and cancer centers-- to come and perform it. It's a play that's body-part specific, candid and personal.

Jeff Metcalf: "Some people have said, 'I wouldn't be brave enough to do that', well I think bravery is important. I think we need to talk about this."

In his performance, Metcalf reads excerpts from three days in his journal-- the day of his physical, the day he had surgery, and the first time he had radiation. And he sprinkled in between the anecdotes, some legitimate medical advice.

Jeff Metcalf: "If you haven't had a PSA, get a PSA. It's a blood test, you don't have to study for it."

Metcalf received a call from his doctor yesterday, telling him that his most recent PSA test shows he's cancer-free .

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