My Prostate Cancer Journey - Richard Lasus

September 30, 2020

Richard Lasus, a 14-year prostate cancer survivor, shares his story and the importance of considering all available treatment options. 


Richard Lasus, Prostate Cancer Patient

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Richard Lasus: My name is Richard, and I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in January of 2006. I had a family history, so I had my PSA checked on an annual basis and it had run in the two to four range for a number of years, had gone up to six. My biopsy showed some cancer and a Gleason of 3+4. And I had a surgery and off to a 14-year career so far and fighting prostate cancer.

Question from Charles Ryan:  How did you go about making your treatment decision?

Richard Lasus: Well, it certainly has changed over the years, but at first, of course, you're like a deer in the headlights. You say, "Oh boy, this is not happening to me." Although I did have a family history. And so when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, both I and my wife wanted to get rid of it. And we felt the best way to get rid of it was surgery. So we had the surgery done.

Question from Charles Ryan: Did you feel that you had an adequate understanding of all the pros and cons of each treatment that was available to you?

Richard Lasus: Well, at the time I thought I did, but after 14 years of prostate cancer, the answer was unequivocal no. I really knew very little at that time. For example, I knew there was surgery and my urologist who did the surgery said, "Well, I can perform this surgery, but you could also talk to radiation people and get a second opinion." But I like the guy. So I said, "No, I want surgery. So let's do the surgery."

Question from Charles Ryan: Is there anything that you would do differently about the decisions you made or the treatment you chose?

Richard Lasus: Oh, absolutely. The first thing I would have certainly tried to learn more about what the options were. And from what I know now and not at that time was after surgery, which I think was a good idea, I would have done low-dose radiation right away. I did the low-dose radiation, but that was two years after the surgery when my PSA came back. And then, unfortunately, that was a little late.

Question from Charles Ryan: What advice would you give to yourself as a newly diagnosed cancer patient?

Richard Lasus:  Number one, I would say find a prostate support group, prostate cancer support group. When I finally went to a support group, which was also in 2008, when I was going to do the low-dose radiation, I couldn't believe how helpful they were. You had all these opinions from guys who were there, had been through it, tell you to calm down, get a grip. Two-thirds of guys are going to die from something else. And you've got a pretty good chance of living a long time. It's not the worst kind of cancer.

I've been very lucky. First of all, I've had a good attitude, positive attitude. I've tried to stay healthy, exercise. I think that's important. I tried to eat well. I did what my doctors told me, to cut back on protein. But then when I was on chemo, "Go ahead and eat protein. It's okay now." And I've been so impressed by, as the years go by new things come along. I was extremely lucky my PSA over the years had gone up and it reached a high of 780. And this PARP inhibitor brought it down to 16 and that was over a three and a half year period. So I'm very thankful for that. And now we're looking for something new.

Question from Charles Ryan: How do you keep your positivity throughout this process?

Richard Lasus:
  I guess part of it, I always look at it from a positive glass is half full point of view, that here I am, I've had prostate cancer and its metastasized for 12 years. And until very recently, I never had any bone pain and I've never had any real bad reactions to the drugs, even the chemo that I was on. And so I'm very positive. Things could have been a lot worse.

I can't stress how important it is to have a caregiver. My wife has been absolutely terrific. And I have a group of friends who have prostate cancer, had prostate cancer. And it's really quite a community and it's nothing to be scared of. You just want to get involved and just examine what your choices are and you just hope they're going to come up with that silver bullet.