November 19th, 2014

As both a son and a urologist, Mo Bro Dr. David Hall grow a Mo after his dad’s battle with prostate cancer. 

Mo Bro Spotlight

As both a son and a urologist, Mo Bro Dr. David Hall grew a Movember moustache after his dad’s battle with prostate cancer. He shares this journey with us to encourage other sons to have conversations with their fathers about men’s health and getting screened for prostate cancer. 

After a grueling day of residency, the last thing I wanted to do was return phone calls. I typically got through my voicemails by deleting them midway through the message. This day was no different until I reached the last voicemail. It was from my mom and it sounded a little more urgent than usual. When I called her back, I heard, "Your father has been diagnosed with cancer, prostate cancer."

As I talked to my mom on the way home that evening, a new series of questions flooded my mind. These were unique to me as a son, not just a urologist. I began wondering how my parents were processing the diagnosis. Were they scared? Were they confused? Did they have questions? Did they understand the details of my dad's cancer? What did they need from me? Who was their urologist? When was my dad going back to discuss his options? How serious was his cancer?

Only one year prior, I had helped guide my parents through their initial prostate cancer screening questions. With all of the prostate cancer confusion and misinformation out there, they weren't quite sure what to believe regarding prostate cancer. I made sure I took the time to explain the ins-and-outs of prostate cancer screening. The most basic recommendation I remember giving my dad was to just get checked.

My father was a healthy and active man in his mid 50s. Like most men, he didn't frequent the doctor's office. By the time my parents began asking questions about prostate cancer screening, I was a little alarmed to hear that he had already missed a few checkups. I incorrectly assumed he had been getting checked regularly. Thankfully I was able to encourage my dad to go and get checked.

Like many men diagnosed with prostate cancer in America, it all starts with a simple exam (the digital rectal exam) and a blood test (PSA). If either of these is abnormal, the patient is typically referred to the urologist to discuss the merits of a prostate biopsy. In my dad's scenario, he ultimately decided to have his prostate removed robotically. He has since recovered and is now cancer free. Perhaps prostate cancer screening saved my dad's life.

The saying "Dad is a son's first hero" could never be more true with my dad. As early as I can remember, his bear hugs and scraggly kisses were always there. He set a perfect example of diligence, sacrifice, and providence. Without my dad I wouldn't be where I am today. I like to think I somehow returned the favor.

This Movember, I hope to inspire other sons to grow Mo’s for their dads. Perhaps then we can start openly talking about men’s health, prostate cancer and its screening. Who knows, you may just save your dad's life.