The Marketing of Prostate Cancer

Prostrate Cancer For a cold Friday morning at the end of a very busy and shortened week, hopefully the title of this morning's blog gets some attention...because it should.  Terrible news with what has occurred over the last two weeks regarding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's complications from his prostrate surgery.  He has already stated that there are actions he should have taken that would have provided better communication and better met protocols. 


And unfortunately, given the current Washington environment of rabid finger-pointing and heightened political back-stabbing, there are now calls for his resignation.   

Let's not forget that the man has cancer!

In the more important world for all of us where everything finally comes down to the protection of our own and our family's health, nothing impacts our lives and gets our attention more immediately than the "C" word, no matter what that form of cancer is.  Here's a few wakeup stats on prostate cancer:

  • Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America!
  • In the U.S., 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime! 
  • 3.1 million men are diagnosed annually in the U.S.!
  • 34,700 die each year in the U.S!
  • Veterans are 1.5 x more likely to contract it; African American men, 2.5x!

Of interest to the above, may be that the 1 in 8 rate is the same for women being diagnosed each year in the U.S. with breast cancer.  Breast cancer is more virulent and comes in a wider variety of formats, and it has superb marketing support in the U.S, and around the world from Susan Komen walks to wonderful supportive organizations in every community. 

Prostate cancer's marketing programs by comparison are not only lame with the November blue ribbon moustache cuteness thing, but there are so many myths and inaccuracies surrounding the disease that they actually negatively impact the cure such as "I'm not old enough", "I'll get tested when I'm 50", and "my doctor told me not to worry.  It's slow moving".  That last comment is as a result of the practice of "watchful surveillance", and the bet that one will die of other causes before the cancer takes over.   Definitely, not for me!

The reality is very different

I've been a student of prostate cancer for a long time and a great admirer of entrepreneur Robert Noyce, the founder of Intel, who when he contracted prostate cancer, wrote a cover article in Fortune as to how, as a scientist, he fought it with a very new technique, at that time, of seed implementation. 

For whatever reason, I started that day graphing my annual PSA results until such time, that I realized that my local country doc in Vermont had made an error.   Transferring to Mass General immediately, I was introduced not only to the reality of having cancer, but also the fact that I had what was defined as "massive heart disease" discovered only by the requirement that I needed to do a stress test one week before the prostate surgery.  The prostate surgery was then postponed for six months, as I underwent immediate cardiac bypass surgery.  In my case, cancer saved my life since I never had any heart problems symptoms even though I was operating with a 100% blocked left and a 65% blocked right artery covered up by the fact that my heart on its own grew two new arteries.

  • Diagnosing prostate cancer is very direct, proven and ridiculously inexpensive to detect. 
  • The science behind the potential treatments is heavily documented. 
  • For the best support, just your primary, who they sent their father to for diagnosis and treatment. 
  • If you want to know more, there are reams of objective sources.  I would strongly recommend Dr. Patrick Walsh's Surviving Prostate Cancer.  I read all 500 pages that same night after my surgeon, and now friend, Frank, called me to tell me the results and told me he wanted to see me the next day. 

So, a very different and more blunt blog this morning, but hopefully of some impact. Given that our reader list is around 20,000, one of the two key takeaways that hopefully could result is a wake up call for annual testing on the part of some of are readers.  The other takeaway is to consider how each of us can support better marketing and telling this story of prostate cancer through donations to your local hospital or at The Prostrate Cancer Foundation even though, as a marketing guy, I believe that they could do a much better job.  Having said that, they are the #1 agency for information.

Last comment: let's also say a prayer for Secretary Austin and keep in mind that for any cancer victim, that person immediately goes through a dramatic change at numerous levels when they hear that word, "Cancer" of any type.  At that minute of being diagnosed and the long weeks of fear and uncertainty that will follow, there's confusion at the best, and the reality that both bad and good decisions that will be made.  Let's not allow the image of a battle-tested Silver Star soldier, West Point graduate and highly praised leader to be kicked around by politicians looking to gain political posturing.  

Thanks for reading this.  Have a great day selling and marketing today!


Writing the Winning Marketing Plan in 2024

At the end of every December, I take the time to do a full rewrite of our ebook on how to write a comprehensive "How-To" book,  which I just finished. I was surprised to discover how much of what I had written only a year ago was either out of date, or just did not apply to the year of 2024 which we're forecasting to be a strong growth year.

Planning 2023-2Hopefully, you will find this of value whether you're a corporate manager or a first time or serial entrepreneur.

Take a look, give me some comments when you can, plus I would love to get your perspective on 2024: Is this a year of growth or cautious optimism...or something else.  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.



Tags: Making Tough Choices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning