RANCHO SANTA FE — When faced with the news that he had stage 1 prostate cancer, the Quiki King, Mehrdad “Mitch” Moshtagi made a quick decision to undergo a relatively new technology using SpaceOAR Hydrogel. Moshtagi has now recovered without suffering any side effects, and is “actively retired” working out of his home in the Rancho Santa Fe Farms.
Moshtagi’s luck in finding his cancer early took work. With a history of cancer in the family, and a higher than normal PSA reading (a test looking for signs of prostate cancer) 20 years ago, he knew he had to keep an eye on his health. From that point on, he regularly had his PSA levels checked. Then suddenly last year, it was up to 15 — the diagnosis was cancer.
When presented with the opportunity to undergo the SpaceOAR treatment, Mitch said he had no hesitation. Primarily he wanted to “avoid the knife,” a strong recommendation by relatives and doctor friends who had cancer in the past.
The procedure Moshtagi underwent uses the SpaceOAR Hydrogel to create a temporary space between the prostate and rectum, reducing the radiation to the area in focus. By doing so, the patient can usually avoid side effects typically caused by radiation hitting other surrounding organs. Those side effects typically consist of urinary and fecal incontinence and sexual function. After six months the gel is naturally absorbed by the body.
And the procedure is quick. Moshtagi remembered when he had the procedure in December 2018, he didn’t even realize it had started, and when over, he thought “they were just taking a break.” Plus, there’s no need for general anesthesia. Afterward, he said only felt discomfort for a day, and a month later he said his PSA levels dropped to 2.4. Now they are zero. No need for antibiotics, no infections, no side effects.
With prostate cancer being the most common cancer for American men, and with one in nine men during their lifetime being diagnosed, monitoring PSA levels is important. “I recommend that regular prostate cancer screening be a top priority,” Moshtagi’s oncologist, Dr. Reza Shirazi, said. “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, with more than 183,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It is a serious disease that can take lives, but it is highly treatable and five-year survival rates are about 98% for early-stage prostate cancer.”
While Moshtagi quickly overcame cancer, he’s not a stranger to doing things quickly — hence the Quiki King moniker. He earned the Quiki King title when he developed the 10-minute oil change in the 1980s and opened his Quiki Oil Change centers. Soon thereafter, he started the Quiki Oil Change franchise. Much like new health procedures, the 10-minute oil change was a concept met with many doubts. Moshtagi recalled a story, when a woman’s husband, who came in for a service, thought that Moshtagi had hoodwinked his wife and did nothing to the car. Moshtagi showed the man how he did the oil change not only in 10 minutes, but cleanly while wearing a suit. The man was easily converted into a Quiki Oil Change fan.
Moshtagi has always been an innovative entrepreneur, opening vegetarian restaurants before it was a popular culinary trend, car washes and the quick oil change services. And when a business enterprise did not succeed, he said he figured out his mistakes and continued forward, whether that be closing a restaurant or starting anew. That’s his lifelong attitude — stay active.
“You need a Monday morning purpose,” he said. “I don’t believe in retirement. I work harder, but don’t have to. I am lucky in I can do what I want.” These days his focus is in construction. He’s converting one of his commercial buildings he owns in Mission Valley to residential housing. You can see the passion in his eyes when he describes how he enjoys the concept of “pouring concrete and seeing how it builds up to be a home.”
The oil change pioneer has built up his own solid foundation for himself and his family. Not bad for a son of Iran who started out as a dishwasher when arriving to the United States. And when reflecting about his cancer scare, Moshtagi strongly affirms that “cancer doesn’t scare me, because I’ve lived my life. I have no regrets and there’s nothing more I need to accomplish.” Recently, he’s been putting together his memoirs, which has been therapeutic for him, “remembering what I was when first entering the United States, and the simple things.”
There’s nothing simple about Moshtagi, and his fight with cancer may have ended quickly, but it resulted from many, many years of monitoring. He saw the need to need to regularly check his health, and it paid off. Much like he saw a need for quick oil changes and it paid off. We will bow to the king, as he now slowly enjoys his active retirement.