I’ve always felt good and been in great physical shape – which is one of the reasons why I hadn't been to a doctor for close to 15 years. Then, in October of 2016, I received a company email inviting employees to participate in a preventative health evaluation that would allow us to earn credit towards our next year's insurance premium.
Because of my good health, I wasn't worried about the exam that included a barrage of blood tests. But something told me to do it. One of these tests was a screening for prostate cancer called the Prostate–Specific Antigen (PSA) test, which turned up something concerning. My PSA measure was high, indicating prostate cancer might be present.
At that point, I went to see a urologist who, after some additional testing, delivered the diagnosis: localized prostate cancer. My doctor gave me my options.
One option was active surveillance – watchful waiting – to track the disease but refrain from any medical intervention for now. My second option was treatment- which could include radiation, cryotherapy, or surgery to remove the prostate. Exploring treatment options, I learned that any of the procedures could produce awful side effects like incontinence or impotence, none of which I was interested in at my relatively young age.
At my doctor's suggestion, I also considered another option called High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU treatment directs ultrasound waves to ablate (attack) the diseased area of prostate tissue. Even though this option is relatively new in the U.S., it's been available around the world for years and more than 45,000 men have received the procedure worldwide. I qualified for HIFU because I had low-grade cancer that had not yet spread beyond my prostate gland.
After considering all my options, I decided to go with the HIFU treatment because the risk of side effects was minimal relative to other prostate cancer treatments.
After my own successful experience, I want other patients to have the opportunity to choose this amazing treatment for themselves. Recognizing that black men are more likely to develop prostate cancer, I've encouraged my brother to get tested and shared my experience with my fraternity brothers, so they are also aware of the increased risk.
Now, I am traveling to D.C. to meet with lawmakers and raise awareness about the effectiveness of focused ultrasound technology. I want elected officials to know that this treatment works and that it has the potential to improve quality of life for prostate cancer patients.