Mentors Stories

Bill Payne


I remember the day my Doctor called and told me had I had cancer. I instantly broke out into a cold sweat. It was a punch in the gut. How could that be. I was a healthy, active, 62-year-old. This is not supposed to happen to me. On top of that, my father died of cancer at 60 and my father in law died of prostate cancer the same week I got my cancer diagnosis. I thought I had just gotten my death sentence. I was wrong!!

From that point forward I got educated. This was not a death sentence. I had caught my disease early. This is key point!! I was informed of my options regarding treatment and then I made an educated decision on my course of action. I chose a prostatectomy. There were some other great options, but I wanted to get the “cancer out of me”. I had read all the information on side effects and while concerning, I still opted for the surgical route. The actual surgery was a breeze with the help of today’s robots and thanks to a great surgeon. I have had minimal post-surgical side effects. All those “war stories” were not true. They are making so many advances today. I am now cancer-free and living a very normal life.

Post- surgery and based on my experience, I decided I wanted to give something back to the community. I joined with some other men to form the West Michigan Prostate Health Alliance. Our goal is to help men and their families address prostate health head on. Do not be afraid of it. Saying the word PROSTATE in not a bad thing. My dream is that no man will die of advanced prostate disease in West Michigan. If you catch this disease early, GET TESTED, work with your health professional and make informed decisions, there is no need for anyone to die from prostate disease.