Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Can ZERO count you in?

The current statistics are showing that 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. That could be your father, brother, husband, uncle, neighbor or even YOU! If caught early, Prostate Cancer has a 99 percent 5-year survival rate, yet this cancer, the most common in men, is still holding strong at the number two cancer cause of death in men!

We decided to catch up with local Tehachapi dentist, Dr. Randy Kam who was diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer in January 2015. We wanted to see how he's been doing these days as he approaches his 5-year anniversary date with his new life partner, Prostate Cancer. At the time of diagnosis, Dr. Kam's cancer statistically showed his 5-year survival was only 28 percent. He's living proof that a healthy lifestyle, positive attitude and taking the reigns on his health can give you longevity.

Since diagnosis, Randy has taken the motto of "creating ripples" to do what he can to make a difference. Whether it be talking to his patients about healthy eating habits, encouraging his staff to get out and walk, to wearing a sign on his back with names of men he's known who have succumb to the disease. He will talk to anyone about his experience with prostate cancer and can be found on social media posting updates of his weekend runs/hikes/walks as he trains for the next marathon. He celebrated a milestone this year by running his 150th marathon and conquered nearly 70 miles of Camino de Santiago French route, earning his official pilgrim status.

Dr. Kam is also a very active volunteer and advocate with the national non-profit ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. This September, ZERO is also working alongside men like Randy to get the word out about early detection and the importance of being aware of your risk and talking to your doctor about testing for the disease. Risk factors can include: increasing age, family history, ethnicity and diet. Recent recommendations encourage shared-decision making with one's doctor about when to begin testing based on risk, personal family history and lifestyle. Screening includes a simple blood test and an exam by their doctor.

"I tell people, as a dentist, if you don't get teeth checked periodically - a cavity may go undetected. No big deal if you need a filling, a crown, root canal or even an extraction. Now, if you don't get regular health screenings, and especially PSA /DRE (for prostate cancer), missing something growing in you it could result in a very painful death. So early screenings could save your life and spare you what I did (15 chemos/30 months ADT) and still going through the effects of continued treatment both mental and physical. Life is beautiful and it's too short to be a jerk. Carpe dang Diem guys; stay in the game."

Randy dedicates countless hours to fundraising for ZERO as part of Team ZERO at the NYC Marathon as well as two local ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk events. This year will be his 4th NYC Marathon as part of Team ZERO, taking place on Sunday, Nov. 3, then the following Saturday Dr. Kam will be running with his team at the Bakersfield ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk at Cal State Bakersfield. If you'd like to support Dr. Kam's goal of raising $3,000 to run the NYC Marathon you can donate: http://www.tinyurl.com/randallbkam.

Randy invites you all to join him to run or walk at this year's ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk at California State University Bakersfield's Amphitheater (Nov. 9). The event features a 5K run/walk, 2K walk (1.2 miles), Kids' Superhero Dash for Dad and virtual Snooze for Dudes program. The goal is to create Generation ZERO – the first generation of men free of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer takes the life of a man every 17 minutes, but Randy knows that if we all work together we can end prostate cancer once and for all. Funds raised through this event support ZERO's patient support programs, advocacy efforts to increase research funding and continued activities to support awareness and education.

Can Randy and ZERO count you in to help raise awareness during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? You can visit http://www.zerocancer.org/countmein to find out how you can get involved or learn more. Register for the Bakersfield ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk at http://www.zeroprostatecancerrun.org/bakersfield.