Pints for prostrates: One man’s beer battle against cancer

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Rick Lyke with daughter Brhea (left) and wife Sandy (right).

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Rick Lyke was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was 47. His response was to set up “Pints for Prostates,” an organization that uses the universal language of beer to reach men with its message about the importance of prostate cancer screening.

Lyke founded “Pints for Prostates” to spread the message about need for regular prostate health screenings. The organization travels to beer festivals and tries to engage with men in an informal way. “Beer is a universal thing for men,” Lyke told CNN. “Where women get together and talk about health issues, men really don’t, so we try to use an atmosphere like a pub, where guys are a little bit more relaxed, to talk about prostate cancer.” He says prostate cancer is a highly personal disease for men, in much the same way that breast cancer is for women. Treatment for prostate cancer can sometimes result in impotence. “The pink ribbon campaign has really made it possible for women to talk about breast cancer, so we’re trying to do the same thing for guys. They need permission to talk about it,” said Lyke. As well as setting up stalls at beer festivals and organizing events in pubs, “Pints for Prostates” has run adverts in magazines and Lyke estimates its message has reached about 30 million people. A year after his own surgery, Lyke’s first granddaughter was born. He is aware that by being screened for prostate cancer he has vastly improved his chances of seeing her grow up, and he hopes that by encouraging other men to be tested he will give them a similar opportunity. He told CNN, “I’m hoping that there’s a whole bunch of other guys out there who’ll be able to experience the same thing [as me] — see their families grow up and grow old.”Mark Tutton contributed to this report