Rocklin resident promotes prostate cancer awareness

10-year survivor helps men who need financial, emotional help dealing with the disease
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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Bill Doss, 78, is trying to spread the word about prostate cancer. “In the average American family, the husband is more likely to develop prostate cancer than the wife is to develop breast cancer,” said the Rocklin resident. “It’s the most diagnosed cancer in men.” Doss, who is a 10-year survivor of prostate cancer, is a board member of the California Prostate Cancer Coalition and volunteers with the American Cancer Society’s Man to Man Program. “The program is set up to provide treatment to men who have little or no insurance,” he said. “They don’t qualify for either medical treatment or medicine. They’re the working poor who have no where else to turn.” With about $3.1 million in state funding available, the hospital is only able to provide care for 330 men, Doss said. “We have men on the waiting list,” he said. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, Doss continued, when at least $15 million has been made available for breast cancer screening and research. It’s also frustrating since prostate cancer is typically discovered when a man goes to the doctor for another problem, Doss said. At the point a man receives the diagnosis, Doss continued, he faces a number of options. “There’s the good news and bad news,” he said. “The good news is there are a lot of treatment options. The bad news is there are a lot of treatment options.” Sadly, the individual man may be so focused on the cancer diagnosis that he “tunes out” the discussion of options. That’s where the Man to Man Program steps in. As for the Man to Man Program Coordinator, Doss arranges for a volunteer to provide one-on-one support and information to newly-diagnosed patients. “My niche is the Agent Orange Program,” said the Air Force veteran, who served in Vietnam. “That was a defoliant used in the jungles in Vietnam. Thirteen illnesses are attributable to Agent Orange.” In his role with the program based at UC Davis Medical Center, Doss matches a prostate cancer survivor with a man who has been given a similar diagnosis. “If the new patient is interested in radiation, I’ll assign one of the men who have had that treatment,” he said. “They need to talk with somebody who has been through what they’re facing. We give them hope.” The volunteer will accompany the new patient to doctor’s appointments, taking the time afterwards to explain procedures and talk to them about what to expect during the treatments. “There’s so much to absorb,” he said. “It’s a big decision to consider what’s best for them. This month, Doss is also focused on raising public awareness of this silent killer. He will be accepting proclamations from the Rocklin City Council and the Placer County Board of Supervisors recognizing National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. He’s also pleased that for the first time in NFL History, a message about prostate cancer awareness will be broadcast during the televised face-off between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets on Sept. 25. For more information about the Man to Man Program, call Doss at (916) 772-2222. ________ Know and Go What: Free prostate cancer screening for men who do not have adequate insurance When: Sept. 20. 21 Where: Mercy San Juan Medical Center