A man with glasses poses pensively from the barber chair of an LA barber shop
"Going to the doctor is never as bad as you think."Image by: Let's Be Friends
A man with glasses poses pensively from the barber chair of an LA barber shop
4 September 2023

Danny’s prostate cancer story: Thankful I went to the doctor when I did

Mo Bro
Danny Bensimon
4 minutes read time

From Mo Bro Danny's point of view

My partner Vicki introduced me to two very important things in my life: Movember and the doctor who first detected my prostate cancer.

I had never paid much attention to prostate cancer and had very little awareness of it before I was diagnosed. I wasn’t aware of any family history and didn’t know that men 50 and older were at risk.

Vicki introduced me to her kidney doctor and encouraged me to have an appointment in November 2021. First, the doctor did a physical test of the prostate and took a blood test. Later, I got the results and everything was fine.

We scheduled an appointment for one year later, in November 2022. At this exam, she did the same blood test, and it came back with an elevated PSA. Within one year, a big rate of change had happened. A slew of tests – biopsies, radioactive imaging, and MRIs – confirmed it: I had prostate cancer.

My sweetheart of a doctor sat me down and told me the best news: the cancer hadn’t spread. From here, she connected me to my rockstar surgeon, Dr. Bui. We spoke on a Monday, and I was operated on the following Thursday. It was all over with. I consider this a miracle.

Vicki drove the point home that going to the doctor to get my prostate checked was important, and ultimately what got me to go and make this discovery. Often men can find it difficult to admit that something is wrong – it can feel easier to ignore it. But from my experience, doctors are the pros and have so much compassion. They explained everything to me in a straightforward manner, painted a picture of the next steps, and gave me a lot of encouragement. Ultimately my doctors inspired confidence in me from that first visit, by giving me the facts and making it scientific. Plus, the pain meds helped during that biopsy!

Going to the doctor is never as bad as you think. I’m so thankful I went to the doctor when I did. I’m now cancer free.

From Vicki's point of view

All I had ever heard was that men over 50 should get checked for prostate cancer. So, when Danny told me he hadn’t been checked for years, I insisted he go see my kidney doctor. He was fine the first couple of years, but after one test came back with elevated PSA levels, the process started to figure out what was going on, and lead to his prostate cancer diagnosis.

As a woman, I had been brought up to go to the doctor or the gynecologist yearly from a young age. So rather than lightly encouraging Danny to go to the doctor, I just told him, “Go!”

Danny, like a lot of people thought that prostate cancer is the easiest of all cancers to cure and moves slowly. But that’s not always the case. If he had not taken action immediately, he would not have made it into his mid-70’s. There is a lot you can do by spreading the message of the importance of men getting regular doctor check-ups.

Dr. Bui's point of view

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the US. But, if it’s caught early, it’s very treatable. This is why knowing your risk factors is so important. Men should start a conversation about prostate cancer with their doctor at the age of 50. And if you have a family history of prostate cancer or are Black and have African ancestry, you should start the conversation at 40. Starting that conversation is so important.

The people who come to see me have often had a little nudge from a spouse who’s had lunch with a friend who heard from another friend that their husband had prostate cancer, or maybe they were playing golf. But it’s more common than men think. And it’s surprising that when some of my patients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer start talking about it, they find out they know a lot of people who’ve been through it too.

It often goes unspoken though. Men aren’t always keen on sharing these things. Maybe they don’t think it’s important, or they think it will make them look like less of a man, or their ego gets in the way. But it’s so important to challenge these stigmas, because it could save lives. Screening has been shown to save lives. This is a cancer that is entirely treatable and curable if caught early. No one wants to hear the C word, but you know, I always tell patients “Thank God we know about it, right?” So, it’s never a waste of time to start that conversation with your doctor and it’s never too late for guys to take care of themselves. Because, it’s not just them. It’s everyone around them. It’s their children, it’s their spouse, it’s their family. They need to do it not just for themselves, but for their family and the people they love.

50 or over? Early detection of prostate cancer is key. Talk to your doctor. Find out more about your risk.