Prostate Cancer Survivor Mike Becomes Movember Navigator
Meet Mike Mitchell, one of the 93 Movember funded Prostate & Testicular Cancer Navigators from Strandfontein in Cape Town. Mike is a prostate cancer survivor. He’s proud that he beat prostate cancer ten years ago and is still cancer free. Today, he devotes his life to creating awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment, so that other men can make it through like he did.
Mike is based at the Lotus River Day Hospital. Every Thursday, talking to ordinary men sitting in rows in the waiting room, he tells them about the symptoms of prostate and testicular cancer and what to do when they suspect they have these diseases.
He also talks to wives and mothers about getting their men tested. “I always tell people to get tested as early as possible and not to wait, because cancer can spread quickly, but early detection can save your life,” says Mike.
My name is Mike Mitchell and I started experiencing symptoms in 2005, when I was 65 years old. My employer sent me to the doctor, who asked me if he could check my prostate gland and performed a digital rectal exam.
He referred me for a scan and I was sent to Tygerberg Hospital for tests where it was confirmed that I had prostate cancer. Fortunately, it was in an early stage. After surgery, I joined a support group. I also decided to sign up with CANSA as a Movember Navigator – after receiving training, I did talks on prostate and testicular cancer to create awareness and encourage screening. I was able to give men advice and support.
I believe that cancer can be treated successfully if you go for regular check-ups and catch it in time. Screening is a must – if the doctor hadn’t screened me for prostate cancer I may not have survived. My advice to men is that you must know your body – no-one knows your body like you do – you know what feels normal. If you are unsure – don’t keep quiet – get tested, it could save your life.
Movember Patient Navigation Programme
The Prostate and & Testicular Cancer Navigation Programme was made possible with funds raised by all the dedicated Mo Bros and Mo Sistas throughout South Africa and was developed between Movember and CANSA, based on Movember’s strategic goals surrounding survivorship and research.
The aim of the Navigator Programme is to coordinate a network of navigators who are informed and accountable for assisting men to access health and social support services. The navigators not only provide information, but also provide emotional support at a local cancer support group. Volunteer Navigators are recruited from the community and undergo training before they are assigned to a particular hospital, oncology clinic or geographical area near their home.
Volunteers help survivors access the care they need from health and medical services, specifically public facilities as quickly and efficiently as possible. They are trained to give care that is sensitive to each individual’s situation, culture and knowledge of cancer, as well as catering to the needs of their loved ones and caregivers.
Launched in a pilot phase in 2013, the programme has built a platoon of about 100 contracted male volunteers, consisting mostly of cancer survivors from strategic locations throughout South Africa. So far, the navigators have directly impacted around 36 000 men since February, providing 652 meetings over 463 clinic visits. Of the 279 referrals for examinations, 38 men have been referred for treatment while 841 patients have been provided support and navigated into the system. Read more about Movember Funded Programmes here…