Yuhnis Sydnor: Advocating for Early Detection

Prostate cancer survivor joins the AACR Runners for Research team to raise money for cancer research.

The words “you have cancer” struck Yuhnis Sydnor hard, leaving the West Philadelphia native in disbelief. But after a few minutes of shock, his strong, get-it-done personality took over, and he dealt with his diagnosis head on.

“I realized, ‘get yourself together,’ because there are so many reasons I need to live,” he said.

As an African American, Yuhnis knew he was at higher risk of certain diseases including hypertension, diabetes, and prostate cancer. He had been proactive, asking his physician to add the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to the routine blood work at his annual physical.

So, when his PSA levels rose over time, Yuhnis was referred for further testing, which found the cancer.

After his moment of disbelief and anxiety, Yuhnis wanted surgery the next day to get it out. He was young – just 44 at the time – and had much he wanted to accomplish. Married with a daughter, Yuhnis was also helping to guide his mother through her own health care needs.

Unsurprisingly, surgery couldn’t be scheduled for the next day. Doctors recommended additional testing to stage the cancer and determine the best course of action. Soon, Yuhnis chose to undergo robotic-assisted surgery.

The cancer had not spread and the surgery was successful.

Today, Yuhnis is cancer-free and wants to spread the word about the importance of screening and risk reduction, particularly among African American men, who are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

On Sept. 16 and 17, he will be joining the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Runners for Research team for the AACR Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K, 10K, and half marathon to support lifesaving cancer research.