Why it takes balls to check for prostate cancer
Thulani Sibisi has always led an active life, having previously won the Two Oceans Marathon and also being one of the founding members of the Soweto Marathon. However, in 2012 a few months short of his 60th birthday, Sibisi was diagnosed with prostate cancer. "Accepting (that you have prostate cancer) is a very difficult thing to do, but I don't think you have any other option, it's a matter of accepting it and dealing with it. The only way to deal with it is to realise there is still life even if you have got cancer," he says.
And that's exactly what he did. The athlete did not give up on his aspirations as an athlete. Sibisi took part in the 2016 leg of the Daredevil Run, an awareness campaign for prostate cancer. Daredevil Run has assisted him to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Last year he completed the Cape Peninsula Marathon, Old Mutual Soweto Marathon and Two Oceans Marathon.
"It takes a lot because my immune system is not working as well and I am advised not to do those long distances but every morning at five o'clock I try to be up and running." When speaking on the importance of health, he is quick to note that education has plagued the older black communities in the country.
"I don't think there is enough education from the health department or any other level that teaches people about prostate cancer — I am one of the victims," he says, citing this as the motivation for his own involvement on awareness of prostate cancer. "Prostate cancer is in the most private parts of a man. And men don't want to talk about it."
Part of that awareness has helped Sibisi debunk myths about cancer in black communities who believe they are bewitched. "They feel that uloyiwe or people have done something to you. They try to use African medication to treat it and most of them don't tell their families what is happening. Whereas if you went to hospital to doctors who are specialised in that it can get treated especially if you know from an early stage."
Sibisi stresses that a visit to the urologist is important for men over 40. He also gives five tips on checking for symptoms of prostate cancer.
"You highlight all those things to the doctor, the doctor will go through all the procedures to make sure that all those things are addressed. This will help them determine whether you have got it or not and the kind of treatment that you will need. They will tell you what kind of medication you will need to take and all that."
SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE FIGHT AGAINST PROSTATE CANCER
· If you urine and it comes out in drips and draps
· If you urinate in hourly intervals
· Burning or sharp pain while you urinate
· If your urine doesn't have yellow hues
· Struggling to release urine