South Carolina celebrity fisherman Monty McGuffin spends most of his days with a fishing pole in hand on the tranquil lakes of the Palmetto State.
His long-running broadcast “The Carolina Outdoorsman Show” can be seen on Fox Sports South where he targets freshwater species, and informs avid anglers about tips of the trade and the latest gadgets.
But in April 2014, McGuffin became one of thousands diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. He chose CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin to undergo surgery under the hand of Dr. David Price, a Lufkin urologist and chief of surgery at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial known for robotic prostate removal.
According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. An estimated 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in America this year and about 29,480 men will die from the disease. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
The 58-year-old professional fisherman and television host said he gets an annual physical each year, but his mother had been in the hospital and he missed his routine check-up.
“My wife was going through some paper work and told me I had missed my annual physical, so she called and made the appointment for me,” McGuffin said.
An elevated PSA level alerted his local physician to the early stage prostate cancer forming in McGuffin’s body. Cancer runs deep in the McGuffin family tree. He lost four uncles and an aunt to different forms of cancer, his father is a survivor of colorectal cancer, and three years ago, his brother also was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Nevertheless, the angler never expected to hear his own diagnosis.
“When you hear that someone has cancer, you say, ‘I hate to heart that.’ But when it’s you sitting in that doctor’s office and he says to you, ‘You have cancer,’ that’s a whole new ballgame,” McGuffin said.
Through a series of friends and mutual acquaintances, McGuffin’s nephew heard about Price and the more than 1,000 robotic procedures he has performed. Three years ago, Price removed McGuffin’s brother’s prostate.
“When I was diagnosed my brother said to me, ‘You have to go and see this guy.’ So I made the call to Dr. Price. Originally, he told me I didn’t need to remove my prostate, but when he heard about my bloodline, he told me I was doing the right thing,” McGuffin said.
This summer, McGuffin and his wife made the journey to Lufkin from Westminster, S.C., for the surgery.
“I am always honored when a person chooses me as their physician,” Price said.
“But, it is especially humbling when a patient, who could have his surgery performed anywhere in the country, chooses to travel to Lufkin, Texas, for me to perform his surgery. However, I would be unable to provide the high quality of health care these patients seek without the excellent surgical and ancillary support of CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial.”
The day after his procedure, McGuffin was discharged from CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin and on his way back home.
“I got up that next morning and was walking around. I told the nurses, ‘I’ve got things I need to do,” McGuffin said.
Things like getting back out on the water, teaching new fisherman the trade. He is now two months post-operation and feeling great. McGuffin begins filming “The Carolina Outdoorsman Show” in the next few months. He said he feels blessed and ready to get on with life.
“The good part is that I discovered the cancer in its initial stage rather than five years down the road. I was blessed to have the opportunity to come to Memorial,” McGuffin said.
“I was in the right place at the right time, and I was fortunate my nephew knew the right people. I give all the credit to my wife and the good Lord. I’m just happy to be here for another shot at something.”