(WBNG Binghamton) September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, is pushing for awareness and hoping men will take it upon themselves to get a routine exam that could save their lives.
Libous was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009.
"Had I not gone for that check up, I probably wouldn't be sitting here talking to you today," Libous said.
Libous says hearing the word cancer was not something he had prepared for.
"You pause for a moment. I grabbed my wife's hand and reality sets in and you say to yourself. I took a deep breath, looked at the doctor, smiled and said, How do we beat this,'" Libous said.
Since then, Libous has had surgery and found active spots of cancer on his lungs.
Libous currently undergoes chemotherapy treatments every 21 days.
The experience has led the senator to start a program with UHS and Lourdes Hospital called ITurnedPro.
"The whole concept of the program is for men to get checked. We just want to you to go to the doctor and get checked," Libous said.
"The reality is that prostate cancer is a very common disease. There will be more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed this year alone," said Dr. John Miller with Lourdes Hospital.
While it's commonly a slow growing disease, prostate cancer is the No. 2 cause of cancer deaths in men.
"I think men over the age of 40 should at least discuss the option of prostate cancer screening with their doctor and consider a digital rectal exam," Miller said.
Still fighting through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Libous says he's confident he'll win the fight and is still thinking about his political future.
"I plan to continue working if the people will have me and I have every intention of running again," Libous said. "I'm very blessed right now. Nobody knows how long they're going to live or what's in store for them, but in a funny way I do. I know what I have and I'm dealing with it."
Prostate cancer affects nearly one out of six men.
For more information on being proactive against the disease, go to ITurnedPro.com.