Dear Rice Community,
Although Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, the advent of the holiday is on my mind due to a recent personal event that has caused me to reflect on life’s many blessings.
About a month after the beginning of the fall semester, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily, the disease was in its very early stages and was easily treated with surgery this past week.
I am recovering well and will be back in the office soon. In the meantime, I will be working remotely and attending meetings and events when I am able to do so. My main focus is on healing and moving forward with our goals to make Rice a stronger, better institution.
I am grateful for the support I have already received and that will come during the next few weeks while I am getting back up to my normal speed. I am especially thankful to Paula, who is helping care for me, and for the exceptional medical teams at Houston Methodist Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center who are treating me and who were able to diagnose me before the disease progressed.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men after skin cancer, and it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer since it tends to grow very slowly. The disease is twice as common in Black men.
With a family history of prostate cancer, I have been diligent in getting annual screenings. I hope my story encourages men, particularly over the age of 50, to learn about their family’s medical history, talk to their doctor and get screened annually. Doing so could save your life. Mine was definitely spared because of early detection and swift medical action.
In addition to taking care of yourself, I encourage you, especially as we approach the holiday season, to think about the things you are thankful for. I have been doing that a lot lately, and the Rice community and the support you continue to give, is at the top of my list.
Thanks for all you do. I look forward to seeing you soon.
President Reginald DesRoches