Kent Brothen's Own Story

This is a man's story: a personal testimony that can and should alert every one of the men in our class to be sure to have their personal doctor order a PSA blood test for them, if they haven't had one lately.  There have been numerous men in our class who have had a similar experience.  But Kent Brothen has done something about his experience for which we all can be proud.  And he continues an annual event to prove his commitment.  The PCF (Prostate Cancer Foundation) has used Kent's story in its national fundraising campaign.

This is what the PCF has had to say about Kent; and Kent has given his "OK" to share that here.

          Kent Brothen's Story in His Own Words         

When he had a physical on the eve of his retirement in 2000, Kent Brothen of Minnesota had no idea what PSA (prostate specific antigen) even stood for, much less what it meant in terms of his prostate health.  Although his test results showed a low number, it was high enough to warrant a visit to a specialist.  The specialist advised him not to worry, as PSA numbers tend to rise with age, and Kent was pushing 60 at the time.

However, a follow-up test six years later revealed that his PSA had increased.  Further testing indicated the cause of this increase: a cancerous mass in his prostate gland.  He was floored by the fact that he had prostate cancer.  After considering a number of factors, Kent’s doctor recommended surgical removal of his prostate.  This procedure, which he admits took a toll on him, would ensure that no cancer had spread to anywhere outside of the prostate gland.

Fast-forward 8 years, and Kent is now cancer-free and is now the organizer of the “Breezy Point Car Show” to promote awareness of prostate health and the importance of getting screened for prostate cancer.  The idea for the car show was inspired in part by a young woman in his community who was leading the cause to raise funds for Alzheimer’s disease in support of her father.  Her efforts prompted Kent to think about what he could do to educate other men about prostate cancer, as he believes there isn’t enough information available, and most men don’t know about it.

For men who do know about prostate cancer, he says, “there is always the fear of the unknown, the fear that you might have cancer,” and he wanted to create a space for men to discuss the realities of a prostate cancer diagnosis.

As a prostate cancer survivor, the decision to organize a car show to raise funds for the disease was an easy one, and a natural extension of his love for classic cars.  He is currently the proud owner of two classic convertibles: a 1955 Mercury Montclair convertible, which is his show car, and an Oldsmobile that he purchased from an auction at his local church.

Both cars are special to Kent – the Oldsmobile led to his first date with Laurie, his wife of 20 years, and the Mercury was his car in high school.  Kent spent seven years restoring the Mercury, badly damaged by years of Minnesota winters, and it was ready to be shown around the time he received his prostate cancer diagnosis.  His work has paid off in spades – the car has won 65 trophies.  He is especially proud to report that the car is 98% original, and is in fact so rare that there are only 13 registered in the United States.

For the first year of the event, Kent had to organize everything from scratch.  A friend who owned a hockey rink, and had expressed concern for his own prostate health, said Kent could use the space for a car show about prostate cancer.  Kent then made t-shirts featuring a light blue ribbon, and everything else, including food and door prizes, were donated.  To promote prostate cancer awareness, he handed out materials from PCF to spectators and men showing cars, and his doctor, along with his whole nursing staff, came to answer questions and register men for exams.

Having just finished its third year, the “Breezy Point Car Show” is more successful than ever, raising nearly $5,000 for PCF in 2014 alone.  The number of participants has doubled to include more than 80 cars, and there has been talk of expanding the show to other cities.  In addition, Kent attends every car show in his area and says he continues to be inspired by the men he meets.  Though he spends nearly two months preparing for the big event, it is a labor of love born out of a sense of obligation as a prostate cancer survivor.

“We are of age where cancer is a problem,” he says, “I get so mad talking to these guys, and tell them they need to ask for it.  They have to get that blood test.”