Cancer survivor Rotary guest

WEIRTON – Brother John Paul McMahon, a member of the Franciscan community, told the Rotary Club of Weirton Wednesday that he’s learned a lot in the 10 years since he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“The biggest mistake I made was when I was diagnosed in Steubenville, I didn’t tell anybody,” said McMahon, regional coordinator for the Man to Man support group at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center for prostate cancer survivors. “I tried to carry that bucket of water alone, and it was very heavy.”

McMahon, diagnosed in 2003, said symptoms usually don’t display until the cancer has spread outside the original capsule, and growth tends to be slow. “But because it’s slow doesn’t mean it’s not fatal,” said McMahon who, during a previous posting had been a hospice volunteer, working with cancer patients. “(And) younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer are at much higher risk that theirs will be the more aggressive kind.

“There’s no such thing as a ‘best kind’ of cancer,” he added. “It can strike anyone at any time, with no guarantee” it won’t be the aggressive kind.

McMahon said 240,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, “and more than 2 million men are living with it or have been diagnosed with it in the past.”

He said it’s important to have a good support network. The Man To Man group meets every other month at the Teramana Cancer Center, 3200 Johnson Road, Steubenville. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on April 11.

“A support group doesn’t connote weakness,” he said. “It offers education, support and information.”

The Rotarians meet at noon each Wednesday at Williams Country Club.

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