Skip to Navigation Skip to Search Skip to Content
Search All Centers

Introducing Man Up to Cancer

Read Transcript
View next

Published on June 9, 2020

Men often isolate themselves following a cancer diagnosis, which can lead to problems in relationships and poor medical outcomes. Patient Power founder Andrew Schorr engages in a candid conversation with fellow patient Trevor Maxwell about why he founded Man Up to Cancer. Watch as he shares his mission to help men find connection during their cancer journey.

Featuring

Transcript | Introducing Man Up to Cancer

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:
Welcome to Patient Power. I'm Andrew Schorr in Southern California, but joining me from near Portland, Maine—Cape Elizabeth, Maine—is Trevor Maxwell. Thanks for being with us, Trevor.

Trevor Maxwell:
Hey Andrew, good to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Schorr:
Well, I'm so excited to have our Patient Power audience meet you because I have a history of journalism and then found myself as a patient and said, gee, can I use my journalism skills to help empower myself and other patients? You're a veteran journalist in Maine, and two years ago, diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

Trevor Maxwell:
Yes.

Andrew Schorr:
And so you've been using your journalism skills now, as of January 2020, to have Man Up to Cancer. What's the idea of Man Up to Cancer? What's the unmet need?

Trevor Maxwell:
Very simple. The unmet need is that men tend to isolate when we get diagnosed with cancer, we tend to withdraw. Whereas just in general, women tend to have an easier time reaching out, accepting help, going through things together. And there are lots of negative consequences when we do that, as men, when we withdraw, when we try to just toughen up and go it alone, that leads to mental health problems. It leads to relationship problems. And it also leads to poor medical outcomes. So what Man Up to Cancer is it's really just a community and content to inspire men to go through cancer together, to reach out, connect, accept help and to not take on cancer as an individual.

Andrew Schorr:
Now these negative things you were referring to, you experienced them yourself, right?

Trevor Maxwell:
Yeah, I did. The genesis of Man Up to Cancer is for a guy exactly like me. So summer of 2018, I had had colon surgery. I had had chemo. Now, I had a metastasis in my liver, facing a first liver resection, two young kids at home. They were 12 and 10 at the time, two daughters, and my wife. And I went through debilitating depression, anxiety to the point where I was physically and emotionally broken.     

I couldn't even make a phone call at that point. So the thought of becoming an advocate, sitting down with Andrew Schorr and talking about this at some point in the future would have been so ridiculous. It was like I never thought I could climb out of it. So when I did, and when I did start to recover mental health-wise, even as I continued to fight my cancer, I just felt this purpose. And I felt this real calling to help people like myself in that summer, because I know there are other guys out there who are going through a really hard time losing their roles, their identity, physical difficulties of cancer. But like a lot of the guys do, they're out there trying to just toughen up and get through. And I just want to reach out and hopefully make that path a little bit easier for those guys who are in the same shoes that I was.

Andrew Schorr:
It's terrific. And you've been finding that men have been finding you, right? So you have a partner who's been helping you with a Facebook group, and you've been reaching hundreds of men in just a few months, right?

Trevor Maxwell:
Yeah, absolutely. It's been pretty crazy. I mean, just at the end of the year had this concept of Man Up to Cancer that I wanted to do a platform of some type. And so it's two things, content and community. So content, we have a website. I'm launching a podcast soon. Like you said, I'm using my skills as a journalist to create content around the problem of men checking out. And then on the community side, started a Facebook group called the Howling Place. It's a private group for men impacted by cancer, and it's all cancers. I had colon cancer, there were plenty of people in there with colorectal cancer, but it's across the board now. So it's open to men impacted by any type of cancer. And so my buddy, Joe Bullock from North Carolina, when I started the group, he stepped up in a huge way.  

He was like, "I'm all in, let's do this together." I was like, "Great, come on board." And he is the lead administrator of that Facebook group now. And he's doing a fantastic job. I'm in the group a lot, but I'm working more on building out the content around the website, podcasts. And Joe is just hard at work in the Facebook group, helping guys. And I think at last count, we're closing in on about 600 men from around the country. And even I think six or seven countries who have heard about us, just word of mouth on social media and come into our Facebook group.      

And the feedback we're getting is, "Hey, thanks for carving out a space for us." It kind of hearkens back to the old guy's lodge where men just go to talk about guy stuff, and we're super inclusive. It's the modern version of the guys lodge, because we are inclusive to everyone, no matter what your background is, no matter who you are, if you're a man, there's a place for you in what we call the “wolf pack.”

Andrew Schorr:
It's the man cave for men dealing with cancer.

Trevor Maxwell:
Exactly.

Andrew Schorr:
I just want to give you really a tremendous pat on the back. I'd give you a hug if I was there.

Trevor Maxwell:
Someday, hopefully.

Andrew Schorr:
And I hope that we can have you really be on Patient Power more, because I think this is so important. We're aware of different communities that have come together, particularly women in many different cancers or sometimes women on behalf of men. This is men on behalf of men.

Trevor Maxwell:
Right. And I will also say that my wife and my daughters have been the ones spurring me on to do this, because as my wife always tells me, “There are guys out there struggling.” And when a guy is struggling, that doesn't just affect him. That affects his caregivers, his family, his community, it affects everyone that he comes in contact with. So by helping these guys who are struggling, Man Up to Cancer becomes a community thing, not just a guy thing.       

Yes, it's all about empowering men to go through cancer not being isolated, but in turn that really helps the whole community at large.

Andrew Schorr:
Right. And it's therapeutic for you.

Trevor Maxwell:
A hundred percent. I've been in my cancer fight for two years. I'm still in treatment for my cancer. I'm on immunotherapy, and I'm stable right now, which is fantastic news. But as I've gone through my own journey, starting to share. So I just started putting myself out there using my communication skills; writing, speaking, doing videos, just this past fall. And as I've started to do that and share and connect with others, it has been so therapeutic for me. I would say it's more about just processing and therapy for me than it is for anybody else. But fortunately for me, I get to do that and help myself while I'm also connecting with others, and getting great feedback from guys who say that they're benefiting from the platform.

Andrew Schorr:
I'm sure they are. You are, and they are. Your family is. Trevor Maxwell in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, near Portland…

Trevor Maxwell:

…you got it.

Andrew Schorr:
We want to thank you for what you're doing, joining us on Patient Power today. We will help you in any way we can, because as a man, I get it.

Trevor Maxwell:
Thank you.

Andrew Schorr:
Not just connecting with other patients, no matter what their gender is. I think for those of us men, talking about things that are often very personal, very scary. That's really helpful. Thanks for being with us. And we wish you the best of health.

Trevor Maxwell:
Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Andrew Schorr:
Andrew Schorr with Trevor Maxwell. Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Recommended for You

Resources

View next