SOURCE: Edge Health

Edge Health

September 13, 2011 09:13 ET

College Football Legend, Coach Bobby Bowden, Reveals His Secret Battle With Prostate Cancer During Coaching Career

Bowden Hopes to Empower Men to Take a Proactive Role in Their Health During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by Joining the ON THE LINE Team

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Sep 13, 2011) - Bobby Bowden, the 2nd winningest coach in the history of major college football, today publicly revealed his secret battle with prostate cancer during his 2007 season with the Florida State Seminoles. Bowden underwent treatment without disclosing his condition to the public, his team or Florida State University (FSU) officials. Bowden was concerned about what the administration, his coaches, players and even potential recruits would think, and wanted to keep the focus on his team and the season. Reflecting back on his own experience, Bowden realized that it's time to bring prostate cancer out of the shadows, and for men to start talking about it. He is teaming with ON THE LINE (www.ontheline.com), a prostate cancer awareness initiative, in hopes that his story will empower those living with prostate cancer to have hope and to motivate all men to be proactive about their health. Bowden silently dealt with his diagnosis and treatment, only revealing what he was going through to his wife, Ann. Bowden is now hoping to change the playbook when it comes to men and their health by speaking out.

"One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. That's a heck of a lot of men, you know it? When I think about how many young men I have coached and coached with throughout my 57 year career, I wonder who else is dealing with this same illness and is fearful of discussing it. I know that I didn't want to talk about it, and now I realize how important it really is for all of us men to start talking about our own health. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month -- I want to encourage all men to use this as the time to step up to the line and learn about their risk factors, or their options if they've already been diagnosed," said Bowden.

Joseph L. Camps, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., diagnosed Bowden with prostate cancer in 2007. His choice of physician was no accident -- Joe Camps played for Bowden on his first team as head coach of the Seminoles in 1976. Camps was one of FSU's first outstanding defensive backs, and was a senior captain of that team.

"It was an honor to coach Joe, and Joe did a dadgum great job of coaching me during my illness," explained Bowden. "I was so fortunate to have such a close relationship with my doctor. I knew without a doubt that Joe would give me the proper treatment for my situation, and I trusted his advice completely. I speak for both Ann and me when I say we are forever grateful to him."

"We waited to tell our six children until after we knew the treatment was going well. Four of the six are men -- now between 50 and 60 years old. And knowing what I know now, I wish I had talked with them about it sooner. We are a very close family and looking back on it now, I realized I shouldn't have been uncomfortable talking to my sons. Steve, Tommy, Terry and Jeff are now more conscious of their own risk factors, and ya'll know that Ann makes dadgum sure they stay on top of things."

Joining Bowden in his ON THE LINE mission are ESPN commentator Erin Andrews, whose father Steven is a survivor, and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, whose father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer as well.

Having coached college football in seven different decades, Bowden became the second-winningest coach in major college football history before retiring in 2009. Bowden guided FSU to more than 300 victories, two national championships, and 12 ACC conference titles, finishing in the top five in 14 straight seasons. He coached two Heisman Trophy Winners, Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke, and he led the Seminoles to Bowl Games in 28 consecutive seasons during his 34-year tenure. Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, and was the recipient of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2011.

"Whether you're just learning about your risk factors, newly-diagnosed, living with the disease, or battling advanced cancer, men should know that there are many different options, each with benefits and side effects. Men need to team with their family and their doctor to research their options and determine what is right for them," said Bruce Roth, M.D., Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Prostate Cancer Expert Panel and Professor of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

Log onto www.ONTHELINE.com to learn more, or visit us on the ON THE LINE Facebook Page, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT ON THE LINE
ON THE LINE harnesses the power of sports and celebrities to challenge men to raise awareness that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime and empower men and their loved ones with the resources they need to take charge of their health at all stages of the journey from understanding the risk factors to diagnosis and treatment. The ON THE LINE campaign draws on the expertise of an independent panel of prostate cancer physicians from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world's leading professional organization representing doctors who care for people with cancer. ASCO's expert panel provided the core clinical prostate cancer information, which serves as the basis for the campaign content.

Primary media vehicle, ESPN, the acknowledged worldwide leader in sports, plays a key role in de-mystifying the topic of prostate cancer by presenting information about the disease across the spectrum of ESPN media assets in the media company's signature sports vernacular.

ON THE LINE has also enlisted teammates Zero, Us TOO, Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC), and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) to serve as local and community resources and networks. Since its inception in February 2011, the campaign has touched thousands of men and their families.

ABOUT EDGE HEALTH
The creator of ON THE LINE, Edge Health, a health care marketing company, is dedicated to communicating key information that is understandable and useful to the everyday consumer. Through national programs such as ON THE LINE, Edge Health hopes to inform, inspire and entertain. Together with its partners, Edge Health endeavors to make the toughest of journeys that much easier, one step at a time.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY (ASCO)
ASCO is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is committed to conquering cancer through research, education, prevention and delivery of high-quality patient care. ASCO's expert panel provided the core clinical prostate cancer information, which serves as the basis for the campaign content.

ABOUT ON THE LINE FOUNDING SPONSORS
The breadth and scope of the ON THE LINE prostate cancer campaign, which will extend for a two-year period, is made possible thanks in part to the contributions of campaign sponsors committed to the wellbeing of patients with cancer and their families. With longstanding histories in discovering and developing treatments for those living with cancer, founding sponsors Amgen and sanofi-aventis both are committed to a collaborative effort across industry in driving men to take charge of their health.

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