Why Some People Choose to Battle Cancer Privately
- Rob Halford, lead singer of the heavy metal band Judas Priest, is sharing the news of his prostate cancer diagnosis last year. But he’s now in remission.
- He addresses the cancer battle in a new chapter added to the just-released, updated paperback edition of Confess, Halford’s 2020 memoir. He writes about his diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer during the spring of 2020, and again earlier this year.
- Battling cancer is an extremely personal experience, and so is choosing who to tell about your diagnosis. Regardless of what you decide — to share or not to share — you should focus on what makes you feel good.
Heavy metal and hard rock music news outlet Heavy Consequence interviewed the famous singer for the band’s newly released 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music box (which is selling for £345 — about $475 here in the states). And during the interview is when Halford broke the news of his cancer.Read More
Halford’s Diagnosis: Breaking the News
The fact that Halford had cancer was never public knowledge. The news shocked many when Heavy Consequence published its interview with Halford today.
But it turns out he addresses the cancer battle in a new chapter added to the just-released, updated paperback edition of Confess, Halford’s 2020 memoir. In the new chapter, Halford writes (with “great specificity and some humor,” as Heavy Consequence describes it) about his diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer during the spring of 2020, and again earlier this year.
He reveals that his prostate cancer symptoms began in 2017. He then underwent extensive testing before receiving his diagnosis. In July 2020, he had prostatectomy surgery — surgery to remove the entire prostate gland plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles. But more cancer was discovered earlier this year, he says. He then underwent radiation treatments in April and May. In June, his doctors said he was in remission.
“I felt a combination of shock, horror, and oddly, relief — at least now I know! ‘Am I going to die?’ It was all I could think of,” he writes in the new chapter about how he felt during the initial diagnosis. “I know blokes who’ve died of prostate cancer. ‘No, you’re not going to die, Rob,’ said Dr. Ali.”
“It’s been a draining year, I can’t deny it, but I’m delighted to have come through it,” Halford adds. “I feel like I’ve had the most thorough MOT that a Metal God can have.”
Why Some People Choose to Battle Cancer Privately
Battling cancer is an extremely personal experience, and so is choosing who to tell about your diagnosis. For some people, it’s a no-brainer to share their struggle and absorb as much support as possible, while for others, sharing the news doesn’t come so easy.
“I recommend sharing, I’m a therapist,” Strongin says with a laugh, “but to whom and how many people is up to the person (with cancer).”
Strongin says that she’s noticed a lot of people find comfort and support in sharing their story, “and I mean every part of their journey.”
From a psychological stance, “the more that we share, the less likely we are to feel shame, and shame is quite toxic; it makes us feel alone and it makes us feel like there’s something wrong with us,” she says. “In that instance, it’s better to share; sharing is more connecting.”
But some people aren’t as open.
“I think there are some people who can digest that information (of being sick) and move very quickly into treatment and how they’re gonna battle it, and they want support,” Strongin says. “There are some who have a harder time digesting that information and letting it be a part of being who they are. Sharing it for those people is making it (their illness) more real.”
Regardless of what you decide — to share or not to share — you should focus on what makes you feel good, Strongin says.
Understanding Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Most men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives if they live long enough, Dr. Geoffrey Sonn, assistant professor of urology at Stanford Medicine, tells SurvivorNet. But most men will not die from prostate cancer.
This cancer starts in the walnut-shaped prostate gland, which is located between the rectum and bladder and produces the fluid that nourishes sperm. In the United States, most prostate cancer is caught with screening examinations.
Sometimes, the cancer is called “low-risk” and can be slow-growing; treatment might not be necessary in this case. But for other men, the cancer may grow faster or be more aggressive; in this case, the cancer will require treatment. Because this cancer can behave so differently from person to person, screening and treatment decisions are individualized for each person.
Don’t know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?
Well, it might sound odd, but paying attention to the way you urinate can help you know when to seek help. If you find that you’re peeing more often, or waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, it may be an indication that you should make a doctor’s appointment — though these may be signs of another problem, such as a urinary tract infection or diabetes. In any case, having to urinate more often at night should prompt a conversation with your doctor.
Contributing: SurvivorNet staff