How your butt on a bike can help your prostate


– Special to The Ottawa Construction News

There’s no hiding it: cancer is scary. But what if we were to tell you that not all cancers need immediate treatment such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy?

This year alone approximately 24,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. About half of those men will have what is referred to as a ‘slow-growing form’ that poses little risk to their health, meaning standard treatments can be avoided.

“Some men can go for years, or maybe their entire lives, without the cancer spreading,” says Dr. Rodney Breau, senior author, prostate cancer surgeon, and epidemiologist at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. In the study, published in the prestigious Canadian Association Medical Journal, they used a technique called active surveillance. “If we monitor patients closely we can still treat the cancer if it becomes higher risk. If the cancer doesn’t progress, they can avoid unnecessary surgery, radiation and other therapies, which can have side effects including incontinence, impotence and bowel problems.”

This kind of ‘practice changing’ research not only benefits the way doctors care for patients here in Ottawa, but the results of these types of studies are then shared with practitioners throughout the community, province, Canada, and ultimately around the globe.

“When we hear from medical colleagues practicing outside the Nation’s Capital who have adopted new methods of treating patients because of our work – it is very gratifying,” says Breau who has already witnessed the benefits of his work.

Stephen Wilson, a 56-year-old dairy plant manager in Winchester, Ontario, was able to avoid unnecessary treatment. When he was diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer in December 2012, both his doctor in Cornwall and Dr. Breau recommended that he go on active surveillance.

“Whenever you hear the ‘c’ word, panic sets in,” says Wilson. “You have to live with the notion that it’s there, but I have a background in science which allowed me to do that without any problems. Now it’s been three years and I’m good; active surveillance has been the right choice for me.”

Community support is crucial to getting these types of research projects off the ground. Funds raised through events like THE RIDE, a cycling fundraiser organized by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, are instrumental in helping researchers like Dr. Breau apply for additional funding.

“Generosity from our community can go a long way. It helps us get research projects started, furthers our work, and helps train new researchers – all of which are important to improve the care of cancer patients,” he says.

THE RIDE is a perfect way to support cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital. The September 11, 2016 event features a closed 50 km distance and a 108 km route, both starting at Tunney’s Pasture. Funds raised through THE RIDE help power the revolution in cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital. And that little bike seat… that would be the vehicle of choice.

Each participant must commit to raising $1,500 in support of cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital. In the past six years, more than $10 million has been raised – millions of which have been contributed by the construction industry.

Don’t miss the chance to sit your butt on a bike…. all in an effort to benefit your prostate. Register today at

Ingrid Gingras is manager, communications and marketing, for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.


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