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Bing’s Story

Bing’s Story

Veterans Prostate Cancer Awareness (VPCa) was founded by Commander Michael “Bing” Crosby after his personal journey with Prostate Cancer and experience as a patient at the Phoenix VA hospital.

Mike had always been proactive with his health and annual physicals which is why, at age 50, he began requesting annual Prostate Cancer screenings, including the PSA blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE).

 

Between 2013 and 2014, Mike’s PSA score jumped from 2.7 to 5.4, but he never received notification from the VA. It wasn’t until his annual physical in 2015 that he learned of a drastic rise in his PSA – by this time his score was 14.7. Even with a number nearly 4x the score that would normally prompt a biopsy, Mike was told it would be 29 days until a VA urologist could see him.

That didn’t set well with Mike so he went directly to the urologist’s office and requested an appointment the next day. At that appointment, he was told to come back in 6 months for another PSA screening where they would determine the need for a biopsy. If the biopsy was positive and treatment was needed, the option would be a radical prostatectomy surgery.

Upon receiving this news, Mike decided to take matters into his own hands. Based upon his personal knowledge of prostate cancer, the indications of symptoms, as well the input of a private oncologist, Mike decided to immediately undergo a biopsy outside the VA.

Unfortunately, that biopsy resulted in those three dreaded words, “You have cancer.”

 

Every Veteran has their own unique experience with their healthcare and the VA. We believe it is important for people share their stories and for others to hear them.

We’d love to hear about your experience with the VA and how the VA has played a part in your personal healthcare journey.

By submitting your story below, you agree to allow VPCa to use it for testimonial and anecdotal purposes in our mission to raise awareness of Veterans Prostate Cancer.

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Mike’s options were limited by his VA urologist, who only recommended surgery as a treatment for his prostate cancer. The potential side effects associated with a radical prostatectomy drove Mike to seek other treatment options.
After days of research and countless phone calls, Mike decided that CyberKnife® radiosurgery was the treatment option that he felt most comfortable with. But this decision brought attention to yet another problem.

 

At that time, the entire VA healthcare system owned only one CyberKnife radiation machine, and doctors had not yet started deploying it for prostate cancer treatment. Determined that CyberKnife was the right treatment for him, Mike again went outside of the VA system, and was successfully treated with CyberKnife at Swedish Radiosurgery Center in Seattle, WA.

 

Following treatment, with encouragement of family, doctors, fellow cancer survivors, and Veteran friends, Mike was motivated to start VPCa.

The organization’s primary goal is raising awareness of the incidence of Prostate Cancer among Veterans, and encouraging all Vets and Active Duty military personnel to get an annual PSA blood test. A secondary goal is ensuring that all Veterans have access to the same advanced treatment modalities and therapies as men receiving healthcare in the private sector. At the time, only Veteran patients who met the 30-day wait or 40+ mile travel criteria were qualified to access healthcare services outside the VA through the Veterans Choice Program. The Veterans Choice Program has been designated a permanent program within the VHA, and will be renamed the “Community Care Network.”

The recent VA budget that was passed, along with the legislation called the “Mission Act,” assists Veterans in seeking state-of-the-art care outside the VA in their local communities. Access to the most modern technology and medicines is a right of every American, including our Veterans.

The organization’s primary goal is raising awareness of the incidence of Prostate Cancer among Veterans, and encouraging all Vets and Active Duty military personnel to get an annual PSA blood test. A secondary goal is ensuring that all Veterans have access to the same advanced treatment modalities and therapies as men receiving healthcare in the private sector. At the time, only Veteran patients who met the 30-day wait or 40+ mile travel criteria were qualified to access healthcare services outside the VA through the Veterans Choice Program. The Veterans Choice Program has been designated a permanent program within the VHA, and will be renamed the “Community Care Network.”

The recent VA budget that was passed, along with the legislation called the “Mission Act,” assists Veterans in seeking state-of-the-art care outside the VA in their local communities. Access to the most modern technology and medicines is a right of every American, including our Veterans.

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