Mullin, a cancer survivor, starts awareness campaign

When Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-San Francisco, first had radioactive seeds implanted in his prostate gland to treat his early-stage cancer, he faced a side effect he didn’t anticipate: his grandkids couldn’t sit in his lap.

Three years later, Mullin’s doctors have declared him free of prostate cancer, giving him many more years to spend with his grandchildren. Now, he’s using some of that time to put on his “regular guy” hat and urge other middle-aged men to have regular blood tests and prostate checkups to make sure any signs of the disease are caught — and treated — early.

“At its most treatable stage, prostate cancer usually shows no symptoms,” said Mullin’s doctor, Steve Workman, at a press conference at the Kaiser Medical Center in South San Francisco on Tuesday. “By the time it’s noticeable, the treatment is successful as often as not.”

Mullin discovered that his prostate-specific antigen levels were raised when undergoing routine blood tests for a problem with his eyes in 2003. His diagnosis led him to learn he was a candidate for brachytherapy, in which radioactive seeds are placed inside the prostate to halt cancerous growth. Brachytherapy has a success rate of approximately 95 percent.

The side effects — which can include some urinary discomfort — were minor enough that the former South City mayor could return to work almost immediately.

Most men have a 10 percent to 15 percent chance of developing prostate cancer in theirlifetime, but rates are higher among men whose family members also have the disease, and also among African-American men, Workman said. More than 22,000 Californians were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004, the same year 2,900 men died from the disease.

Mullin’s campaign includes sending some 52,000 pamphlets to men his age across the Peninsula this week.

“My experience was so positive, and I am the prototypical person who gets prostate cancer,” Mullin said. “So I decided to be public about it.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

artsLocalOther Arts

Just Posted

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Sunday was wettest October day in San Francisco history

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

While Kaiser Permanente patients seeking mental health care will get a 30-minute phone assessment within days, in many cases, they cannot get actual treatment for months. (Shutterstock)
City employees face months-long wait time for mental health care

‘We are in the midst of a mental health crisis’

Klay Thompson, left, and his boat dealer Kenyon Martin take on his test drive on the NBA star’s 37-foot vessel; injury woes sent Thompson, the Golden State guard, looking for solace. He found it on the water. (Courtesy Anthony Nuccio via New York Times)
Warriors star finds love with his fishing boat

Being on the water is a ‘safe space’ for Klay Thompson

Most Read