Why It's Important for Men Like Bret Hart to Talk More Openly about Their Prostate Cancer and Health

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Bret Hart, a former professional WWE wrestler and winner of world heavyweight titles, bravely disclosed his prostate cancer diagnosis on Monday through social media.

After undergoing multiple injuries and surgeries throughout his career, Bret Hart now faces a new battle.

“I now face my toughest battle.” Hart writes. “With hesitation and fear, I openly declare myself in my fight against prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer after skin cancer in men and is also the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Bret Hart’s announcement of his prostate cancer and his determination to fight it is a significant step in the right direction for men to start taking better care of their health. According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are 25 percent less likely to have visited a doctor in the past year and almost 40 percent are more likely to have skipped recommended cholesterol screenings. This behavior leads to a deadly outcome for men as American men are 1.5 times more likely than women to die from diseases like heart and respiratory disease as well as cancer than women, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Psychological Association associated socialized male behaviors to men taking poorer care of their health but attributed some aspects of masculinity that might protect men’s health. It seems Bret Hart is now embracing the traits that will help him in his fight against prostate cancer.

Men like Bret Hart openly talking about their health, especially as a public figure revered for his masculinity, is essential in men taking control of their health. His announcement serves as a message of awareness and inspiration for others diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Hart concludes his announcement: “I refuse to lose, I will never give in or give up, and I will win this battle or die trying. Most important of all, I hope I can take the fight to prostate cancer. To be a leader in awareness and to set the example for men everywhere who find themselves in my very same shoes, that prostate cancer can be beaten.”

It is with great remorse that I feel compelled to speak truthfully to my friends, family and my millions of fans around the world. In the past few years, I've spent more than enough time paying the price for all those years trying to be the best there ever was as a professional wrestler. I executed excellently and my proudest claim was that I never seriously hurt or injured another wrestler in my 23 year career. I've paid a price for all that "fake" wrestling ... Mark Helprin wrote: "We are all perfect clocks that Divinity has set to ticking when, even before birth, the heart explodes into a lifelong dance." I've had a great lifelong dance and I'm a survivor of many hard battles. I now face my toughest battle. With hesitation and fear, I openly declare myself in my fight against prostate cancer. In the next few days, I will undergo surgery with the hope of defeating this nemesis once and for all. My fans have always looked upon me as a hero and I've always done my best to live up to that in and out of the ring. I beat the odds when I suffered my stroke in 2002, but it is now yet again, that I ... stand unafraid and face the tough road ahead of me, I will march toward this destiny with his spirit chanting in my ear. I make a solemn vow to all of those that once believed in me, the dead and the living, that I will wage my fearsome fight against cancer with one shield and one sword carrying my determination and my fury for life, emboldened by all the love that's kept me going this long already. Love is my weapon and I've got much of it around me all the time, for which I'm truly blessed and eternally grateful. My children, grandchildren, and my loving wife Steph have been and will constantly be at my side. I refuse to lose, I will never give in or give up, and I will win this battle or die trying. Most important of all, I hope can take the fight to prostate cancer. To be a leader in awareness and to set the example for men everywhere who find themselves in my very same shoes, that prostate cancer can be beaten. B x

A photo posted by Bret (@brethitmanhart) onFeb 1, 2016 at 8:28am PST