I never thought that cancer would be something I would face one day. It’s not that I ever thought of myself as invincible, but cancer just was by no means at the forefront of my everyday thoughts. Of course, I always received the regular prostate cancer screenings because my physicians recommended that I do so. I was in no way a big fan of the constant prostate specific antigen (PSA) screenings, yet they were done on my annual visits to my Primary Care Physician. During one of my visits, the test showed unusually abnormal results. I went through a number of tests and even took Avodart, which helped reduce my PSA levels. Eventually, my prostate cancer antigen 3 gene (PCA3) levels significantly rose, requiring me to seek further treatment.
My physician, E. David Crawford M.D., is a well-known Urologist who provided my unique and unconventional medical treatment, targeted focal therapy (TFT). At the time, he wouldn’t perform my first biopsy at the VA because for him the equipment simply wasn’t good enough. Though this could be his personal choice, it made me reconsider my promise to Veterans in providing care that is second to none. I questioned myself and asked: “How can I make it perfect? Is our program just as good as any other?”
I did not truly understand the importance of the delivery of care until I myself became a patient. I realized how difficult it could be to navigate through any medical system, including that of the VA. Patient centered care began to play a large role in my life. I found that communication and information sharing were two aspects of care that I wanted delivered in the VA. Today, as a VA patient and leader my goal is to provide high quality care to our nation’s Veterans. I continuously strive to improve our health care system, by focusing on each and every individual Veteran and by supporting new ventures such as robotic surgery.
Lawrence A. Biro currently serves as the Network Director, for VISN 17 VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network, in Arlington, Texas. Mr. Biro leads a Network that serves more than 360,000 Veteran enrollees with a Veteran population totaling approximately 1.1 million.