LANCASTER, S.C. — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made headlines last week for not disclosing his prostate cancer diagnosis. 

What You Need To Know

  •  U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin received backlash for not disclosing his prostate cancer diagnosis 

  •  Austin publicly apologized for not sharing his health status with the president and the public 

  •  A South Carolina man who is a prostate cancer survivor provides insight on what the defense secretary may have been experiencing 


Austin apologized publicly for not disclosing his prostate cancer diagnosis to the public and President Joe Biden. 

"I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis," Austin said during a recent press conference. "I should have also told my team and the American public and I take full responsibility." 

Bob Lane, a prostate cancer survivor, says from the male perspective he can understand what Austin might have been feeling due to the diagnosis. 

"Hearing that, it's like nothing you've ever experienced," Lane said. "I appreciate the difficulty he had in announcing it. In a perfect world, I'd like to think he would approach the president and said [to him] 'I have a problem.'" 

Lane knows the importance of men getting checked for prostate cancer.

"They took my prostate out in 2014," Lane said. "Then the prostate cancer came back in 2017, which was the second time I was diagnosed with it. I'm cancer-free again, and that's good, and we want to keep it that way." 

Lane now volunteers at a place he says helped keep him alive: Urology Specialists of the Carolinas.

Lane is talking to the patients walking in his shoes, encouraging them in any way he can. 

"A lot of times, these gentlemen have just learned in last 15-20 minutes they're stage 4. Having been there, that's a lot of load to carry," Lane said. 

According to the American Cancer Society, around 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. 

Its website also states prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men with the higher risks being among African American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry.   

Lane says learning about the cancer diagnosis can be extremely difficult for many men to hear. 

"[The first time] I felt like I was hit by a truck," Lane said. "Nobody likes the 'c' word. The earlier you start getting tested, the better the likelihood of catching it early." 

Lane also volunteers with the nonprofit ZERO Prostate Cancer. The organization offers support services to men and their families facing a diagnosis.

ZERO will be hosting a run/walk event in Charlotte on Saturday, Sept. 21, a fundraiser helping prostate cancer patients.