Did you know that one in every nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime?
John Dirkse, a Wisconsin business owner, came face-to-face with that statistic. Dirkse serves as the Executive Vice President of Aegis Corporation, a Brookfield-based insurance risk management and brokerage firm. When he’s not leading the team at Aegis, Dirkse’s routine involves relaxing on his boat and spending time with his wife and kids – a content life that was interrupted by a phone call.
“I was sitting in my office one day and I get a call from my doctor, which was extremely strange,” said Dirkse. “I had prostate cancer.”
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, and while that is a scary statistic, the reality is that most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, prostate cancer has one of the best prognoses of all cancers. The key, as with most diagnoses, is to catch it early. In Dirkse’s case, it was early enough to take action.
“I said, ‘Doctor, what’s the next course of action?’ Dirske said. ”’He said, ‘Go home. Talk with your wife. Here are the decisions you have to look at.’”
The doctor presented him with the choice to receive radiation, to undergo a robotic or hands-on surgery, or to just keep an eye on the disease’s progression. For Dirkse, doing nothing was not an option, and he opted for the hands-on surgery – a choice that could have saved his life. Dirkse is now cancer-free and able to appreciate what’s important more than ever before.
“The way you have to look at it is that a cancer diagnosis is not the end of life,” Dirkse said. “You have to wake up and realize and appreciate all the things in your life that are important and value them each and every day.”
On average, men have an 11% chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer – a shocking number. If there’s one message survivors, Dirkse included, would want everyone to take away, it’s to get screened. Because of his early diagnosis and treatment option, the Wisconsin business owner is able to continue enjoying and appreciating each and every day.
The WCA Group Health Trust was created when county officials joined together to create an employee benefit program that would meet the unique needs of local governments. Today, their founding principles still remain at the core. WCA Group Health Trust is governed by officials from participating units of government and school districts, making the organization more responsive to local healthcare needs.