Sure, you've heard of prostate cancer. But how aware of it are you?
Probably not much more than I was when -- after an inadvertent test last year -- I learned that I had prostate cancer. And for those who consider it an "old man's disease," I was 35 years old.
Now I'm making it my mission to raise America's awareness of this disease, which will kill 33,000 American husbands, fathers, sons and brothers this year. I believe we all can help, which is why I launched the Blue Cure Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
It's also why I ardently support September's National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, for which I've produced a special 90-second "Go Blue!" video I urge you to see, either on this page or at http://youtu.be/yiY5GoLdkG4.
In it, you'll find tips on how to "Go Blue!' so we all can combat men's prostate cancer, much as the "pink" movement has done for women's breast cancer.
You can "wear blue" by donning blue ribbons, neckties or wristbands. You can "network blue" by changing Twitter and Facebook profile pictures to blue squares for a month. And you can "speak blue" by exhorting male friends and relatives to get earlier screenings and adopt healthier lifestyles for food and exercise.
You also can "speak blue" by asking business, government, civic and social leaders to take action. I'm doing that in my hometown of Houston, where City Hall will be bathed in blue light for one week in September to draw more light to a type of cancer that takes the lives of so many American men each year.
You'd think that we'd be beyond this point, yet prostate cancer is still seriously underreported and underfunded. That's despite the fact that over 217,000 American males were diagnosed last year.
I was one of them, so what makes me so special? Well, what makes any of us special? It's because we're human beings -- not statistics. And some of us -- me included -- are fighting back.
The Blue Cure Foundation (www.bluecure.org) advises men to start getting screened for prostate cancer at age 30, not 40. It also encourages men to adopt healthier lifestyles and supports the research being done to find a cure. Ultimately, the foundation is clamoring for more awareness.
None of us can do this alone. We need collective action, which can come with greater awareness.
That's why this month is so important. If we can't spike awareness during National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, when can we? Now is the time. Now we must seize the moment.
Many already have, and I thank such high-profile Blue Cure supporters as actors Fran Drescher, Bob Saget and Sir Roger Moore, model Hope Dworaczyk, former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
But we also need you -- and that's why I'm reaching out.
Please view my "Go Blue!" video and heed its message. The life you ultimately save may be that of a brother, father, son -- or yourself. And if that's not worth our greater awareness, I don't know what is.
Follow Gabe Canales on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GabeCanales