University of Calgary

PSA test

Dec. 2, 2008

Simple test can identify prostate cancer indicators

Monica Sieben-Kuhn is a woman on a mission and not afraid to ask some tough questions when it comes to early cancer detection—even to strangers in the grocery store.

`Have you had a PSA test?' she'll inquire to men above the age of 40. “My husband died of prostate cancer. Having that test may well have meant he would still be here. Make sure you get tested.”

It is in her husband’s memory that the Sieben-Kuhn has made provisions in her will to establish the Edward Kuhn Endowment for Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Calgary.

Married for 23 years, Monica and Edward followed a healthy lifestyle most of the time—eating well, exercising and taking vitamins. Even with a strong family history of prostate cancer, it wasn’t until prostate cancer symptoms presented themselves that Edward went to his doctor for a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, a simple blood test that can be an indicator for prostate cancer.

Doctors recommend all men over the age of 50 have the test as part of their annual check up, yet Edward had never been checked. By the time prostate cancer was confirmed, the cancer was well established. Just 15 months after his diagnosis, Edward passed away at the age of 62. Soon after his passing, Sieben-Kuhn realized that she wanted to help find a cure for the disease that took her husband.

In addition to establishing the endowment, she has also been undertaking her own fundraising, participating in the Safeway Father’s Day Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer this past June, an event that was very emotional for Sieben-Kuhn as she chose to walk by herself in her husband’s name.

“Even though he knew that he was beyond a cure, he went through testing and treatment that was for research to help other people not have to go through what we did,” says Sieben-Kuhn. “Edward was such a wonderful person and touched so many lives, and he just wanted to give back to help others. I hope that this endowment will help in the fight for a cure.”

Although neither Edward nor Monica attended the U of C, they chose to make the endowment to the University of Calgary because of the exceptional care they received at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre by Dr. Bernhard Eigl and his team, and the research taking place there through the University of Calgary. 

"It is the generosity of people like the Kuhns, not only in financial terms, but also through their selfless participation in clinical trials, that will move us toward reduced suffering and a cancer free future,” says Dr Eigl, who is also an assistant professor at the U of C.

The endowment, which will go towards research and student scholarships, has been established as part of Monica’s will. “It’s Edward’s legacy to make this contribution to the cause of cancer research,” says Monica. “I have no doubt that he would be happy with my decision.”