Why One Man Ignored Prostate Cancer Statistics

Women are a mighty force when it comes to helping their men stay healthy. Lou Ann Radke exemplifies this beautifully. As someone who has had her own share of health issues, Lou Ann says, “I don’t believe in messing around.”  So when the Radke’s learned Dean’s PSA level had doubled in just one year, Lou Ann was right by Dean’s side during his visit with a Bedford urologist.

“He pulled up his stool and looked at us and said, “Statistics have proven a man 78½ years of age will probably die of something else within 10 years. We don’t get real excited about prostate cancer,” Lou Ann remembers. “He didn’t ask us how we felt. He just quoted statistics to us.”

The Radke’s decided that wasn’t good enough. Lou Ann’s sister had recently witnessed her 63-year-old brother-in-law lose his painful three-year battle with prostate cancer. Lou Ann was determined Dean “wasn’t about to go down that path.” 

“I realize there are some things you can’t do anything about, but for goodness sake, to make a judgment without even determining who, what, when or where was really more than we could take. I told Dean, ‘I’ve been married to you for 55 years and there is no expiration date stamped on you. We’re going to see somebody else.’”

But the Radke’s didn’t know who to see. As it turns out, a fellow senior in her Old Testament Survey class at Tarrant County College told Lou Ann that her husband had been treated for prostate cancer at USMD Prostate Cancer Center with wonderful results.

A short time later, Dean and Lou Ann were returning home from a gospel concert in Terrell and drove right past the USMD facility along Interstate 20. ” When we got home we pulled USMD up on the Internet and were amazed. We didn’t know there was a prostate cancer center for men.”

Dean and Lou Ann decided to meet with Dr. Richard Bevan-Thomas, medical director of the center, for a second opinion. “He sat and listened to our story. He had access to all of Dean’s health records and pulled them up as we talked. He said Dean was very healthy for his age.”

“He did a prostate check and found two nodules,” adds Dean. “The other doctor didn’t find anything.”

A biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer, but an MRI and bone scan offered some good news.

Lou Ann remembers Dr. Bevan-Thomas was very encouraging. “He told us the cancer was encapsulated and had not spread as far as he could tell. He said Dean’s bone scan was clear of any cancer markers—which meant he was a candidate for treatment. He gave us literature and took the time to explain each procedure to us, and what might be the expected outcome.”

In the end, Dean chose to have his prostate surgically removed, reasoning “if it’s encapsulated why would you want to keep a cancer in your body?”

Dr. Bevan-Thomas performed Dean’s robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy on January 2, 2014 at USMD Hospital.

“The facility was outstanding. Everyone on the staff was very considerate and very patient-oriented,” says Lou Ann. “They wanted to make sure we had a good experience—they’re caring. They do everything they can to take care of the patient, but they don’t ignore family members. Dean stayed over night and I stayed with him. The night nurse offered to put sheets on the bed and offered me coffee. I thought, ‘Wow, is this a hospital?’”

Post surgery, Dean had some aches and pains. For the first four months he was very tired, but now he’s back to his old self—walking and doing weights at his church’s fitness center. He and Lou Ann are active in North Richland Hills Baptist Church, and have taken three trips since his surgery. “I still do my own yard work,” Dean brags.

Best of all, Dean is cancer free.

“His PSA is less than zero!” says a delighted Lou Ann. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Dr. Bevan-Thomas. He’s a very rare individual. I think he can look at people and feel their pain. He knows how to reassure people—and he’s very honest. We appreciate that he didn’t look at us like ‘those two little old senior citizens are going to die anyway.’ We felt like we were actually seen as individuals.”

Along with Dr. BT, there is another person Dean credits with his recovery—his beloved wife and advocate of 56 years. “I appreciate her. We take care of each other.”

Of course, the feeling is more than mutual. “I love this guy with all my heart, and I just couldn’t accept, ‘I’m sorry, you have an expiration date,’” says Lou Ann. “God may choose to take us home tomorrow. I don’t know, but until then I think we need to do everything we can to preserve our health and take care of each other.

What advice to they have for newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients?

“Be proactive. Don’t just accept the first opinion,” says Dean.

“Not everyone is going to see the same information in the same light. You’ve got to ask questions. If the doctor doesn’t want to give you answers, maybe you need to look somewhere else,” adds Lou Ann.

Because they sought a second opinion, Dean is cancer free today—enjoying life with his wife, three grown children and two grandchildren.

“I can’t ask for anything better,” says Dean.

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would like to get a second opinion, please contact USMD Prostate Cancer Center online or at 1-888-PROSTATE (1-888-776-7828).

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