Being vigilant about his risks for developing prostate cancer and staying in great shape helped saved Neville Brooks’ life.

Having a father and several uncles die from the disease, the 56-year-old retired Hartford Deputy Police Chief wasn’t surprised when he was diagnosed with the disease in 2009. He says he’d forgotten to follow through with his yearly screening and was reminded after hearing of the death of movie star Dennis Hopper, who had recently died of the disease.

“I had the paperwork but had been very busy. When I saw the story on TV I made the appointment,” Brooks says.

VIDEO: How yoga helps with physical fitness after a cancer diagnosis

Once diagnosed, Brooks decided to have surgery to remove his prostate.

“Everyone diagnosed with prostate cancer has treatment options whether it’s active surveillance, radiation, androgen deprivation therapy or surgery,” says his surgeon, Tallwood Urology and Kidney Institute Dr. Joseph Wagner, who also serves as Director of Robotic Surgery at Hartford Hospital. “For a young guy like Neville, surgery was the right choice.”

Now cancer-free, Brooks continues a rigorous physical fitness regime including immersing himself in yoga and consulting with a dietitian to help him maximize his workouts.

PODCAST: Facing Prostate Cancer

“I made sure to work out right up until my procedure,” says Brooks. “It definitely helped me recover. I’m in the best shape I’ve been since college. Cancer hasn’t impacted my lifestyle. I want to tell my story and help guys like me. No one needs to die of prostate cancer.”

For more about prostate cancer treatment at the Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute, click here.