Mical J. Roy
Mical J. Roy

At the age of 37, I went to my new primary care physician for my first visit after moving to a new city. As a part of the blood work panel, my physician chose to also check my prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. The results from the blood work panel came back, and everything was normal except the PSA test. My physician noted that the number seemed a bit high and that she wanted to put me on an antibiotic for 30 days, believing I might have had prostatitis, an infection of the prostate gland. After 30 days of taking the antibiotics, my physician checked my PSA again, but wasn’t satisfied with the numbers and placed me on the antibiotic for another 30 days. When the test came back the second time, the PSA number was higher than it was initially and at that point, I was referred to a urologist. When reflecting, I can only describe this entire process as simply following the doctor’s orders; I never got nervous, because after all, I ‘felt’ completely fine.

After meeting with the urologist for our initial visit, he scheduled a biopsy and seven days after the biopsy, on November 1, 2018, I was told alongside my wife and children that I had stage 1 prostate cancer. In many ways, I still feel stuck in this moment because it was so astonishing, seeing that I’d never had any inkling throughout the entire ordeal that I could’ve had cancer, of all things. That same night when we got home, I called every one of my closest friends and family to let them know. I also made a point to get down on my knees and look both of my girls directly in their eyes, telling them the news as candidly as I could, but also reassuring them that I would be there for their proms and their weddings. While this news was mentally taxing, above all else, I chose from that very day to speak up and speak out about prostate cancer and to do whatever it took to encourage men of all shades and creeds to have their PSA levels checked annually.

As a result of having an amazing support system, including my care team at Urology Austin, weighing treatment options was easier to comprehend and on June 13, 2019, I underwent a successful radical prostatectomy. After surgery, once the prostate was examined closer, it was found that, in fact, I had an aggressive stage 2 prostate cancer. In spite of this update in diagnosis, all the cancer was contained within the prostate so I felt incredibly blessed and grateful that it had not metastasized. To date, at 40 years old, I am a stickler for monitoring my PSA levels every 3-6 months just to stay ahead of the recommendation and to have shorter windows in case my PSA level increases in any way.

Seeing the importance of early detection in removing my prostate cancer before it metastasized has inspired me to emphasize the importance of early detection when I speak to and mentor men all over the world, because early detection will improve chances of better outcomes and quality of life after diagnosis. I have been fortunate to have had multiple opportunities to advocate on Capitol Hill for changes to improve the prostate cancer journey for men of color, including participation in countless efforts for advocacy organizations including Zero - The End of Prostate Cancer, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. I have even co-coordinated a Breast & Prostate Cancer event in Bastrop County which will now be an annual event. I have also been featured in multiple podcasts and articles, including the Today Show’s publication in Men’s Health Magazine supporting Men’s Health Week, all in an effort to reach audiences who would otherwise likely not have run across a message of this kind.

While at a Zero conference in Washington D.C., I remember being introduced to another Zero’s Hero who was also a survivor and was serving as a consumer reviewer for the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP). He encouraged me to learn more about the PCRP review process, and with further encouragement from UsToo’s Austin, TX chapter, I began as a consumer peer reviewer for the PCRP in 2020. Being a college instructor myself, I am a researcher by trade and found the processes gratifying, as these processes involve reading and responding to countless research proposals. Being able to be a part of such a massive effort meant to improve the lives of men globally has given me a sense of self that could not have been achieved otherwise. If I had to describe my experiences as a PCRP consumer, I would have to say this is the most empowering form of advocacy that I have been blessed to be a part of and every chance I get to serve in this role I am humbled. Through these efforts, the promise of prostate cancer research can be described as being intentional and relentless. Through this lens, I am able to feel far more hopeful that help is on the way!

Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022