When Larry Brosan first noticed a lump on his neck in 2008, he had no idea it signaled the beginning of a three-year battle with two types of cancer. First, doctors determined that the 50-year-old Annapolis resident had a squamous cell cancer of his tongue which required radiation therapy, extensive surgery and chemotherapy.
A year later he was in remission, recovering well and happy to have that difficult time behind him when doctors discovered a spot on his lung. Although he had never been a smoker, Larry had stage two lung cancer. Once again his treatment required radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy.
“When we realized that this fellow had a lung nodule while we were providing surveillance for the previous tongue cancer, we knew that choosing a treatment plan was not going to be straightforward because of the complexity of the case,” said his oncologist Peter Graze, MD.
Larry also knew his treatment wasn’t going to be easy, but he knew he was receiving the best care possible. “I put my trust in them, and they did what they needed to do,” he said. “One of the first things I said to the doctor was, ‘I’ve got to be done with this treatment in time for our vacation to Disney World. I am not going to disappoint my family.’”
Looking back, Larry said he was still a little sick from the chemo, but he made the trip and rode every roller coaster in the park.
“That’s how you survive,” he said, “you fight because of your family — my wife, my children, my parents, nieces and nephews. I mean everybody. I want to see the family continue, and I want to be a part of it.”
Today, Larry is very much a part of his family life, taking his daughter to horse-back riding and his son to Tai Kwon Do lessons and enjoying every moment he can. Five years after being diagnosed with tongue cancer, and a year after completing treatment for lung cancer, he remains cancer free.
Treating Larry’s cancer required expertise in multiple areas including radiation oncology, medical oncology, hematology, pulmonology and thoracic surgery. The multi-disciplinary team of doctors at the DeCesaris Cancer Institute brought that expertise together, collaborating to determine the most effective treatment with the most advanced technology available. His oncology nurse navigator managed the details, scheduling his tests and treatments and keeping up with communication between Larry and his doctors. “It required many different resources from the Cancer Institute that were all available in house,” said Dr. Graze.
Larry’s love for his family and their support gave him the strength to fight through his battle with cancer. The team at AAMC gave him the skillfully coordinated multi-disciplinary care that saved his life. “It takes a community to get this done,” said Dr. Graze.