Richard Dalton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. Though his doctor strongly recommended surgery – even going so far as to recommend he schedule it the same day as his initial diagnosis – Richard took time to research his treatment options, eventually deciding on radiation, including external beam followed by radioactive seed treatment.
What followed was more than a decade of treatments on two coasts that ran the gamut from radiation to chemotherapy, including his enrollment in a clinical trial. Richard’s PSA level has dropped after each treatment only to rise again years later. In addition, he’s experienced metastasis in his pelvis and back, and the near-disabling side effects of Lupron – most troubling of which is reduced cognition, which severely affected his career as a writer.
Despite his many courses of treatment and a “ping-ponging PSA”, Richard has not lost hope. Though his PSA has been lowering, the downward trend has slowed markedly and for him begs the question of “what’s next?” Despite the battle still in front of him, Richard is confident in his remaining options, including genomic testing. He has often relied on discussions with other men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and is a proponent of men discussing their prostate cancer the way women discuss breast cancer.
Support groups are essential educational settings for both newly diagnosed and long-term prostate cancer patients.
Richard is vocal about the need for men to adopt an aggressive stance about seeking better funding for treatment of – and education about – prostate cancer. He has served on the board of the Boston Prostate Cancer Walk, a 5,000 participant event at Boston Common on Father’s Day. He has also helped create local prostate cancer support groups on Cape Cod, which he has utilized himself and believes are vital. In 2016, Richard attended the ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit to advocate for increased research funding on Capitol Hill.
When you live with cancer for fifteen years, it’s smart to be on the lookout for bumpy stretches of the malignancy freeway. As a former LA dude, I understand roads that turn out to be more of a hassle than they appear to be at first. Just when you’re sure there’s a wide-open road ahead, you spot a detour sign, you run over a garbage can and congestion begins to look like LA’s 405 Freeway at rush hour.