Q. When did you start your online community at www.myurologydoctor.com, and why did you create it?
I started my online community at www.myurologydoctor.com approximately a year-and-a-half ago. I noticed my patients didn’t always seem to remember or understand exactly what I was telling them. I also found them quite frustrated with the overwhelming amount of healthcare information on the internet.
I wanted to build a product that could help them understand and process their urologic diseases and conditions more effectively. I also wanted to help raise awareness for topics that are oftentimes thought to be taboo.
Q. What do you feel makes your community special?
My community is special because it fosters a safe, effective, and accurate means for patients to truly understand their urologic problems. It also opens up communication channels in ways not typically seen in traditional medicine.
Q. You have quite the following online. If you could magically give all of your community members one thing in this world, what would it be, and why?
If I could magically give all of my community members one thing, it would be access. One of My Urology Doc’s biggest goals is to give everyone the latest and most understandable urology information available.
Q. If you could tell or teach every single client and every single person that visits your site just one thing, what would your message to them be?
I would tell or teach every single client/person to be active in their own healthcare journey. By active, I mean read, study, ask questions, and get involved in their urologic health.
Q. Here’s a simple question I’m sure you’re asked often, “What the hell is PSA and what’s a Gleason Score?”
PSA (or prostate-specific antigen) is a protein made specifically by prostate cells. The PSA test is a simple blood test that measures the concentration of PSA in a man’s blood. The PSA blood test is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. It is typically used in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to screen asymptomatic men for prostate cancer.
Gleason Score is the method by which a pathologist grades prostate cancer. The score is determined by examining [the cancer’s] visual architectural characteristics under a microscope. The score ranges from 2-10. The lower grade scores are less aggressive than the higher grade scores.
Q. I bring up PSA for a number of reasons, but one of the topics of debate here in Movember has been PSA screenings. On your blog, you wrote a great article in which you highlight the confusion many people have on the topic of PSA screenings. What are you telling your clients about getting screened, and what would your advice be to the men that are reading this?
I tell my clients to be sure they are getting accurate information from credible sources. For example, don’t listen to your cardiologist’s advice regarding prostate cancer screening. Patients need to be sure they are getting prostate cancer advice from the providers specifically trained in the nuances of prostate cancer diagnosis and management.I also encourage patients to read the guidelines for themselves.
My blog, entitled “What’s The Deal With Prostate Cancer Screening?”, outlines the most recently updated American Urological Association’s prostate cancer screening guidelines.
Q. What are some of the other hot topics that seem to always be brought up by patients with you in your office or online?
The two biggest hot topics – in addition to prostate cancer screening – are testosterone replacement and incontinence mesh/sling products.
Q. For those that may be new to your community, how would you suggest they go about getting the most out of your content and experience?
I highly encourage my new members to simply get involved. Commenting and asking questions are great ways to get involved and learn more about conditions that may be affecting them or their family members.
Q. Has anything surprised you about owning a forum on the topic of urology?
I’ve been surprised by the global interest. As of this month, my almost 6,000 followers represent 108 countries!
Q. I could only imagine the type of emails and messages that you receive on a daily basis. Are there any noteworthy messages you could share with us? Without breaching any confidentiality rules, of course.
I had someone ask whether they could send me a picture of their penis. Reportedly, they were having a problem. I politely told them no.
Q. If you could ask your followers one thing and get an answer from ALL of them, what would that question be?
I’ve asked my followers this question via my social media channels before, but I rarely get much feedback. I really want to know how they envision their ideal healthcare system.
Q. Let’s say I’m 42 years old, a little overweight, haven’t seen the gym since Clinton was in office and my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago and is 18 months past his own prostatectomy? Am I a lost cause, or are there things I can do now that will increase my health, longevity, and decrease my chance of prostate cancer in the future? Give it to me straight, Doc!
First of all, I would definitely focus on general health issues such as obesity and inactivity. Both are well documented to adversely affect the quantity and quality of your future years. There have also been studies suggesting exercise and a low-fat diet may help reduce your risk for prostate cancer.
Your risk of prostate cancer somewhat depends on the age at which your father was diagnosed, as well as the grade/stage of his disease. In general, having a first degree relative (i.e., father) with prostate cancer may double your risk of developing the disease. Your risk also appears to be higher if your father developed prostate cancer at an earlier age (i.e., 50 years of age versus 70).
Q. Lastly – and I know this can be a long answer, but – What should men be doing NOW?
As you know, the typical man move (myself included) is to ignore what isn’t broken, including our health. I really believe we need to move beyond this. I highly encourage men to get actively involved in their healthcare now, even if it is only preventative healthcare.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hall, give him a call at 765-599-3800. Enjoy his blog at www.myurologydoctor.com and follow him on Twitter at @myurologydoc
I would just like to personally thank you for taking the time to share your perspective on men’s health and prostate cancer. We’ve included several means of communications for those that would like to get in contact with you.
There’s practical advice in here for all of us to follow. My main takeaway from our interview would have to be, “be proactive”. You mentioned it a couple times but, be proactive with your health. There are things that we should be doing as men now, some major but some minor, that may make a HUGE impact in our health down the road.
Again, thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk and I wish you and your family the best in the coming New Year!