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Men's Health Care

Healthy Living Tips from a Cancer Survivor: Embracing Help and Prioritizing Health

By sharing his cancer experience, he found catharsis and inspired screenings. Kolter Bouchard advocates for accepting help and maintaining healthy habits

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Why was it important to you to document your cancer journey publicly?

Speaking vulnerably about my cancer experience was cathartic. I was consumed by anxiety and the ability to speak on my radio show and digital platforms allowed me to process -in real time -an abstract concept: my own mortality. I received hundreds of phone calls from people who had beat cancer, had family members receiving treatment, and were currently receiving treatment themselves. And I received dozens of messages from people who were inspired to get screened for cancer, including three who unknowingly had cancer and were able to catch it earlier than they would have otherwise.

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What would be your advice to men who are going through their own cancer journeys?

Put your ego aside and let people help you. I felt immense pressure- entirely from within -to be strong and support those around me. To continue doing all the things I was able to before beginning treatment. But you’re experiencing one of most traumatic events a human being possibly can and your single priority needs to be taking care of yourself. People are going to offer to drop off groceries, cook meals, clean your home, and run errands. Let them. And trust them to be there for you emotionally, too.

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What does living a healthy lifestyle mean to you?

I’m not living only for myself – I’m here for my wife and daughter, too. It’s incumbent upon me to give my body and brain the respect they deserve by practising healthy physical and mental habits. I regularly see my therapist, exercise five days a week, and eat healthy (aside from my kryptonite, Mini Eggs). And I don’t drink or smoke. You don’t need to do all of those, but you should try to do some of it. Living a healthy lifestyle is hard, but living an unhealthy one is even harder.

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How would you like to see the perception around men seeking care change for future generations?

I was initially embarrassed after receiving my diagnosis. I feared inevitable changes in energy and appearance. I worried that I would lose my job and, more importantly, wouldn’t see my then- six-month-old daughter start school. I hope that men are shown support and understand that while cancer treatment brings overwhelming darkness, it is not only okay but necessary for us to excise the expected role of provider and welcome softness from others and, most importantly, ourselves. Post-treatment care is necessary, too; I will continue to deal with the scars of my experience. But it’s a fair bargain given my daughter starts kindergarten in September and I’ll be there to drop her off.

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