1997 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Mike Haynes was a yearly participant in the enshrinement festivities but 2008 took more significant meaning. Haynes played cornerback for the New England Patriots from 1976-82 and the Los Angeles Raiders from 1983-89. He then went on to worked as a part-time NFL employee.
As part of the many events, the Hall of Fame was conducting free prostate cancer screenings as a means of increasing public awareness. The NFL asked Haynes to participate in the event. "They said if I was involved, it might encourage other people," Haynes said. "I figured I'd just be a nice guy, take the screening and help raise awareness."
Haynes had little interest in taking a screening because he had just undergone a physical with his primary care physician, but it did not include the PSA prostate test. In past physicals, Haynes had undergone the test, but they were normal at 1s on the PSA scale.
While in Canton, and assuming the role of a “nice guy,” Haynes was told his PSA level had jumped to 3.0. Upon returning home, Haynes' doctor determined the spike warranted a biopsy and was also told that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and one in 2 1/2 African-American men will be diagnosed with the disease. "When I got the biopsy, I found out that I did in fact have cancer," Haynes said. "From there, it became a challenge of trying to decide how I was going to treat it."
Haynes chose the surgical route, and his doctors assured him there is 90 percent chance the cancer will not return. However, his doctors suggested that he continue follow-up PSA tests to be sure.
Today, Haynes has made it his mission to raise awareness for prostate cancer and regularly gives talks on awareness. As part of this year’s Hall of Fame week, Mike Haynes will give a free talk on his NFL experiences and his battle with prostate cancer. He will speak at the J. Babe Stearn Center (2628-13th Street SW, Canton, OH 44710) on Wednesday, July 31 at 6:30 PM. The talk will be free of charge, light refreshments will be available.
Luis Lacourt, President
Prostate Awareness & Cancer Support