LP Gas

A cancer diagnosis can put everything into perspective

Prostate cancer awareness month of September transitions to breast cancer awareness month of October, and we take time out from our busy lives to think about people.

We think about our family, friends and colleagues, and those affected by these diseases that have permeated the country. Chances are we know someone who has faced these dire life situations – and someone who has courageously battled and overcome them.

These diseases force us to ask “Why?” and question life’s big picture.

Jane Stroupe of AmeriGas asked these questions in her battle against breast cancer, but now she’s helping to answer them for women who are recently diagnosed with the disease. Jennifer Webb, our contributing editor, tells Jane’s touching story.

As part of these national cancer awareness initiatives, North Coast Media, our parent company, is contributing a portion of this month’s revenues across all magazine brands toward the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Aside from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of the disease among American women, with one in eight facing a diagnosis during her lifetime, according to ACS. Prostate cancer is prevalent in American men, with one in seven facing that diagnosis during his lifetime.

Propane’s role with PCF
For seven years now, one particular event in the propane industry has supported the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF): The Pros4Care golf outing, which is scheduled this year for Nov. 17 at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney, Texas.

Pros4Care is an initiative that Ed Varney of Emerson Process Management and former LP Gas Editor Pat Hyland, now of the Propane Education & Research Council, cofounded out of concern for the risk older men, specifically from the propane industry, face from the disease. Its golf event has generated more than $250,000 since 2007.

Golf seems like a popular way to grow awareness about a disease affecting men – after all, Arnold Palmer has fought for the cause – but as one PCF representative explains, it’s not just about men helping men.

“Not everything we do in golf is from a men’s perspective. It’s become a family matter to a larger degree,” says Chris Conway, director of golf, sports enterprises, at PCF. “Often it’s the ladies in our lives who actually have more of that arm-bending type of persistence to help our guys – husbands, brothers, fathers, uncles – go get checked and make sure they’re taking care of their health.”

Conway oversees the organization’s golf programs and helps groups around the country facilitate events to benefit prostate cancer awareness and research. The golf professional serves as a resource, offering ideas to help ensure events’ successes. These ideas may come in areas such as marketing and promotions, sponsorships, and budgeting. He’s been a resource for the Pros4Care event.

In all, these events around the country can raise upwards of $1.5 million a year, Conway says. Last year, they raised less than $1 million.

If there’s one message he likes to convey about the disease, it involves the conflicting reports about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test scores.

“If a PSA score is high, it tells the physician and patient that something is wrong, possibly with the prostate, with the gland itself,” he says. “It could be an enlarged prostate or poor prostate health, but it does not directly reflect an issue with cancer. There’s a misnomer that when a PSA score is high, it’s cancer automatically.”

Instead, additional testing would follow to determine what’s causing the high score, Conway says.

Joining the fight
With so much information available about cancer and events promoting prevention and research, here’s a quick-hitting list of web resources: