Survivor Story: AZ DBacks CEO Derrick Hall Shares His Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Story

Derrick Hall shares his prostate cancer diagnosis story

imagesKnown throughout the game of baseball for his never-ending positivity and pioneering spirit, D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall turned the franchise into a model organization focused on a fan experience and corporate culture that was second-to-none, paired with the goal of competing for a championship on the field each year and giving back to the community in a meaningful way.

But Hall faced his biggest challenge in September, 2011 when he learned that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at the young age of 42. Determined to face this challenge in the same fashion that led to him becoming one of Major League Baseball’s top executives, Hall immediately penned a note to his staff letting them know of his diagnosis. “Why would I share with you all so openly?” read the message, which was sent before even alerting his children. “Because I share everything with you, my family. And you will help me and my beautiful immediate family get through this. I will win! Survival rate is high, and I will be an “add on” to the statistics.”

For Derrick’s prostate cancer diagnosis story, watch this video:

Video Transcript

Derrick Hall:  I am Derrick Hall, President and CEO at the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I have now been here.  This will be my 10th season coming up.  Before that I spent about 12 seasons with the LA Dodgers.  I have enjoyed a life in a profession in major league baseball and I am the cancer survivor, prostate cancer.

You know it’s really quite remarkable that was even diagnosed and caught it early the prostate cancer because I had no signs.  No symptoms.  No signs.  No clue that there was even an issue and that is the case with so many men.  They don’t know and if they are not tested they are not going to know and I wasn’t even tested.  I was going through some routine checkups and appointments that I had my cardiologist because I had cholesterol issues and blood pressure, so I was routinely going to see him and he called me one day after I spent a couple of days with him and he called back with the results of our testing with again from a cardiology standpoint. 

They called up and said blood pressure looks great.  You know your cholesterol is fine and under control.  Here is what I wanted you to do.  We are going to cut on this medication, super I am about to hang up at work and he said wait-wait-wait.  He said I have never done this before and for some reason I did.  I don’t know if it was by accident he said but I drew a PSA on you as well, but I did not even know if that was and he said I am a little concerned.  I want you to come and meet with our head of urology and you know I hung up, confused, little panicked, quickly went on the internet as we all do which can sometimes be dangerous and you know looking up what a PSA was and what prostate cancer is and at that time my father was going through his battle which he lost with pancreatic cancer which is a terrible disease as well, so I am watching him and helping him and trying to get him through his fight and now it look like I was going to have a fight of my own, so I went in and saw the urologist.  The numbers weren’t very high, but considering that it should have been at 0 or below 0.01 and it wasn’t. 

They were a little bit concerned, so they asked me to have a biopsy.  They were quick with the results.  Shortly after that, I left went on the road with our team, we were playing in San Diego against Padres and I will never forget I was sitting a breakfast with one of our players who is actually closer at the time J.J. Putz and J.J. and I were having a nice breakfast on the Saturday morning and I can see that the number pops up 480 and it was not a number that I recognized and figured this has got to be the doctor.  You know I had just been there I think Wednesday or Thursday for the biopsy now it is Saturday morning.  I go run and out, answer the phone and the first words out of his mouth are yes you do have prostate cancer.  I didn’t really hear anything beyond that and that such a concern to me because I think everyone experiences the same when you hear the word, it is cancer. 

When you hear that the diagnosis was positive, you don’t hear the rest and you know that started getting me thinking about how I could help others as they go through that in the future which is why I started my foundation, but it was a lengthy process in how to receive treatment and they tell you there is no rush.  I for one disagree you know when you hear that you do have cancer, I think it is a rush.


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