Putting the push on prostate cancer

An announcement goes out across the aisles of the Sequim Safeway store: “Terry Payseno, you’re needed to do five pushups.” A customer has just donated $5 (or more) to the store’s prostate cancer research fund and Payseno hustles over and springs into action. One … two … three … four … five! “That makes 1,526,” the fit 51-year-old store manager beams.

In Safeway stores across the country, customers and employees are donating to the Safeway Foundation to fund prostate cancer research. Since the effort began eight years ago, the company has raised nearly $30 million for research at major medical centers, including Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle.

Payseno and co-worker J.D. Logelin added the extra twist. “During Breast Cancer Awareness month last October, we had a challenge to do pushups with donations and it grew into something huge. It’s a fun way to raise funds for prostate cancer research and I read that they’re getting close to a cure.” But Payseno also has personal reasons for committing to do 2,000 pushups by July 5 — his best friend died of prostate cancer six years ago at the age of 56, about a year after being diagnosed.

On the program’s first day, June 1, Payseno said he wanted to see if he could manage doing enough to match his age. He didn’t stop at 51 but continued until he’d done 236, a day’s record. Logelin, a 20-something, is up to 510 and an 8-year-old boy did 200 the other day, Payseno said. Donors’ names are put into a bucket and daily they have a chance at winning a $50 fuel card in addition to the privilege of watching Payseno sweat.

“Everyone at the store and in town has been just amazing. We have a lot of cancer survivors who shop here,” Payseno said.

“I’m very proud of Safeway for supporting research on muscular dystrophy, breast cancer and prostate cancer.” The Sequim store’s goal is to raise $13,000 — it’s raised $9,600 so far. At the minimum of $5 per donation and five pushups per donation, that’s a mere 3,400 more for Payseno and crew.

After this challenge ends July 5, Payseno will have a couple of months of respite before attempting 3,000 pushups during October for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Prostate cancer, which arises in the prostate gland of the male reproductive system, kills about 28,500 men annually. It is the second-most common cancer among men after skin cancer, with some 218,000 new cases every year. One in six men will be affected by prostate cancer and out of every three men diagnosed with cancer, one will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Between 2000-2004, the average number of prostate cancer deaths in Washington was 600 — 13 in Clallam County.

Age is the primary risk factor for prostate cancer — the disease is rare in men under age 45 and climbs as men approach their mid-60s. Other risk factors are family history, race — it’s more common in Afro-Americans than in Caucasians, less common in Asians and American Indians. Men who have high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and who eat a diet rich in animal meat and fat also have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

Men who have cancerous prostate glands may not have any symptoms and only are diagnosed if and when they have a prostate specific antigen or PSA screening during a routine physical. Signs and symptoms that should bring men to their physicians are any urinary problems, difficulty having an erection, blood in urine or semen and/or frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

There are many treatment options for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, including “watchful waiting” as prostate malignancies tend to be slow-growing, although there are aggressive types. If left undetected, cancer cells can invade the lymph nodes, seminal vessicles and nearby muscles and organs. Early detection and treatment offer the greatest promise of cure. Local therapy consists of several types of surgery and radiation; systemic therapy involves hormone treatment.

Information from the U.S. Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. For more information about any type of cancer, visit

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