I’ve been asked many times throughout my life why I chose the medical specialty of urology. It’s because I was drawn to the variety it offers in terms of patient care. I’m proud to say my practice, Texas Urology Specialists, has an active office-based patient practice and varied and challenging surgical practice.
What is Movember, anyway?
Urology has made headlines in the past few years thanks to the month of Movember, also known as No Shave November. It was started by two friends sharing a beer in Australia back in 2003 to raise awareness about prostate health. They thought mustaches deserved another chance, and decided to bring back the extra facial hair in honor of prostate health. As the popularity, variety, and length of mustaches grew around the world, the trend naturally migrated to the United States in 2007 and was quickly adopted.
While we saw more mustaches walking down the street, there was still confusion about who should get screened for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and when. Men who have a father or brother who’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer should begin PSA and digital rectal exam screening at the age of 40. African-American men should also begin screening at 40, as they tend to have a higher aggressiveness to their prostate tumors. The American Cancer Society and other medical organizations recommend screenings for the rest of the population beginning at age 50, and it’s usually discontinued by age 70 to 75.
From Physician to Patient
I don't think anyone ever envisions himself becoming a cancer patient. I had treated urological cancers for years, so maybe it’s ironic (or coincidental) that I became a patient. I remember the day clearly. August 12, 2004. My PSA levels came back high, so I consulted with my medical partners and underwent a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy on November 11, 2004. I feel my knowledge and expertise provided confidence and assurance to my family throughout my treatment regimen.
I just celebrated my eleventh year of cancer freedom, coincidentally during Movember, and I can whole-heartedly say I might not be writing these words without the early detection of my PSA screening.
R. Carrington Mason, D.O., F.A.C.S., is a board-certified urologist with Texas Urology Specialists who practices at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. To make an appointment, call (214)947-6296.