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Patient Story: Richard LaFrate

Just over seven years ago I received a call from the urologist that did my biopsy and was asked to come to the office. He handed me the pathology report and coldly stated you have prostate cancer. Needless to say, I was stunned. The report showed there were four small areas of Gleason six. The doctor said nothing about what Gleason six means or any other relevant information. He did not even do a DRE and yet suggested we go to Bahamas to do HIFU treatment at a cost of 25,000 dollars, it was not approved by Medicare at the time.  The day after learning of this news, we were scheduled to leave on an extended RV trip. Instead enjoying our time away, all that I could think of was prostate cancer and how it would impact my life. I also thought of the urologist that gave me the news and red flags came up, I realized I needed a second opinion. I got my laptop out searched for urologists in my area and found one that offered second opinions, I filled out a form of questions and emailed it, before the end of the day the doctor called me personally, asked a few questions regarding the pathology report, he then told me there was no need to rush into any treatment and mentioned that I would probably be a candidate for active surveillance. I was quite relieved and made an appointment to see him in eight weeks after our trip. I am still on A.S.

The lesson I learned is trust your gut instincts, get second and even third opinions and educate yourself through books, online sources, and support groups. I found that money often determines the path of treatment that some doctors prescribe for their patients.


Update: 10-02-20

Just had a six month follow up with my urologist and was informed that my PSA rose from 9.2 to 11.3 in six months. Feels it’s time to take more aggressive action. I’m scheduled for an MRI later this month, however I thought about the micro ultrasound that was brought up at one of the meetings. I’m thinking about skipping the MRI and do the micro ultrasound with targeted biopsy. I really am opposed to another biopsy, but it would be good to know if my cancer has mutated from Gleason 6 to a higher grade. Last biopsy was six years ago. I would like to hear your thoughts. BTW the closest urologist that does this procedure is in Myrtle Beach, S.C. about 500 miles from home.