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Ozark Urology Patient Testimonial - John McNeill

When Rogers resident and IT expert John McNeill celebrated his 59th birthday, he was healthy and active. But about six months later, he started noticing some unexpected physical changes.

“I began having problems needing to go to the bathroom all the time,” John recalls. In addition to feeling a frequent need to urinate, he also experienced discomfort and difficulty emptying his bladder. John saw his doctor at the time but didn’t get a clear diagnosis. His problems persisted over the next couple years until he decided to get a second opinion. Within minutes of his first appointment with Dr. John Brizzolara, a urologist at Washington Regional Ozark Urology Clinic, John was closer to finding the source of his problems.

“Within ten minutes of talking to me, Dr. Brizzolara asked if I wanted to figure out what was causing all of this,” John says. Dr. Brizzolara performed an exam using a scope with a tiny camera and discovered John’s prostate was enlarged.

The prostate is a gland that sits below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra, the tube that carries urine from the body, runs through the middle of the prostate gland.

Many men will have an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, as they get older. Symptoms include a frequent need to urinate, difficulty starting or stopping urination and being unable to completely empty the bladder. These same symptoms may also be signs of prostate cancer.

Dr. Brizzolara recommended a biopsy to check for cancer. “I got a call from him a few days later and he said those words you don’t want to hear – you have prostate cancer,” John remembers.

All men are at risk for prostate cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that risk increases with age. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States, and treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, or surveillance and management of symptoms depending on how quickly the cancer grows.

A few weeks after he was diagnosed, John underwent surgery to remove his prostate. Dr. Mark Jackson, another urologist with Washington Regional Ozark Urology Clinic, performed the minimally invasive prostatectomy using the Da Vinci robotic surgery system. John credits the quick diagnosis and care he received with catching his cancer before it spread. Now, more than two years after surgery, his prognosis is good.

“At my last appointment, Dr. Jackson said I was as close to cured as someone could be,” John says. He will continue with regular follow up appointments at the clinic to have his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels checked and monitor for any symptoms. Looking back, John says he wishes he had found the team at Ozark Urology Clinic sooner and encourages other men to seek treatment at the clinic right away if they’re experiencing any issues.

“I believe if the cancer had not been found when it was, then it most likely would have been discovered after it metastasized. The doctor you choose for your treatment is critical. It sounds simple, but it really is true,” John says. “Here I am two years later, and the difference is night and day. I went through two years of a lot of pain that was not necessary. My quality of life now is dramatically better.”