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Local Cancer Patient Encourages Others to Visit Doctors if Something Feels Off

Publication: KXXV-TV (ABC, Waco)

WACO, Texas — June is known as Men's Health Month, and doctors are using it to raise awareness on the importance of taking care of yourself.

Studies show that men are about 25 percent less likely to visit a doctor than women, and more than half don't go for annual checkups. This can be a problem as they grow older and become more at risk for different diseases.

David Mocio is a veteran from Waco who said he was thankful that he took his health seriously over the last few years.

In 2015 when what looked like just a mole on his ankle started to bleed, Mocio said something didn't feel right.

"Immediately I went and saw the doctor, they did the biopsy and determined it was melanoma, and we scheduled surgery immediately," Mocio said.

Despite that mole appearing a few years before, he was thankful to hear it hadn't spread at all.

"I think we were blessed the fact that we caught ours early and it had not moved into a major organ," Mocio said.

Early detection can save lives, which is why Mocio recommends people listen to their bodies when something doesn't feel right.

"We need to pay attention to our bodies and look at what doesn't seem right, and not be afraid to go to the doctor and ask to look at things and not be stubborn," Mocio said.

"It is extremely important we pay attention to our health to prevent certain diseases or illnesses and live long, healthy lives," Dr. Carlos Encarnacion, Medical Director at Texas Oncology, told 25 News.

The leading cause for death in men is heart disease, followed by cancer. Cancer can look different in each person and those with a family history are a higher risk.

"Any adult, men or women, should go to a physician at least once a year and discuss which are the risks of certain cancers and certain conditions, so proper screenings can be established," Dr. Encarnacion said.

Screenings are important and absolutely essential, especially if you're in remission for a disease like cancer.

Two years after Mocio's mole was removed, he found another.

"It was very scary and very worrisome," Mocio said.

"It took a while to get over the shock of it and understand the fact that I was diagnosed with stage four cancer."

While his cancer is incurable, Mocio has started a new type of immunotherapy at the Texas Oncology Clinic. It's meant to boost his immune system and stop the cancer from spreading any further.

"I have as much trust and faith in my doctors because this is what they do every day," Mocio said.

"When they suggested this is what we try, I was okay with that."

None of this would've been possible if he was part of the large percentage of men who don't see doctors.

His advice for others — trust your doctors, and actually visit them when you need to.
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