U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said during a speech on the House floor Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer and will have surgery on Friday.
The 63-year-old Brooks alerted the House that he could miss some crucial votes next week because of his upcoming surgery and recovery “unless I am unexpectedly medically cleared to travel,” Alabama Local News reported.
When did he find out?
Brooks said the diagnosis came on Halloween while he was in Washington.
Recalling the night that he got the news from his doctor; he said called his wife, Martha, who was home in Huntsville “welcoming trick-or-treaters.”
“That night was one of the loneliest nights apart in our 41-year marriage,” Brooks said. “I kept thinking about my wonderful family. ‘What do I do next?’ and ‘How do I beat this cancer?'”
Brooks said his father and grandfather both had prostate cancer but with very different outcomes from each other, which is why he followed up on a spike in his Prostate Specific Antigen levels.
A PSA blood test is a screening tool that helps doctors determine the risk of prostate cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s recommended for men between the ages of 40 and 70, and in men with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
His father discovered his cancer early and lived about 40 more years, Brooks said, but his grandfather died soon after being diagnosed.
What type of surgery will he have?
His doctor will perform a “radical prostatectomy” at Birmingham’s Urology Centers of Alabama.
Tests showed that his cancer was isolated to the prostate and had not spread, according to Alabama Local.
What else did Brooks say?
The congressman shared three insights from his experience, Alabama Local reported.
“First, don’t ever take your health or family for granted. During the holidays, enjoy your family … because no one is promised tomorrow,” he said.
“Second, I encourage age-appropriate men to have regular PSA tests. … My PSA spike persuaded me to have the prostate biopsy that revealed my ‘high risk’ prostate cancer early enough for me to enjoy a very good cure prognosis,” Brooks said.
He added that losing the GOP Senate primary race this year might have been a blessing in disguise.
“Third, I ran for the Senate in 2017,” he said. “I finished third out of nine candidates in the Republican primary. Had I won, I would not have had time for my physical and PSA test. I would not have had a prostate biopsy. I would not now know about my ‘high risk’ prostate cancer that requires immediate surgery.
“In retrospect, and paradoxically,” Brooks said, “losing the Senate race may have saved my life!”