The Edmond Sun


October 23, 2012

Richard Fransen

EDMOND — Prior to 2006, Richard Fransen had no medical history and was regularly active, playing tennis and racketball at least once a week.

His father lived a long life, but when he was age 13 he lost his mother to breast cancer.

“With no symptoms, there was no reason for any concern,” said Fransen, an insurance and investment planner. “The monitoring of the PSA as routine.”

In 2006, Fransen’s PSA (prostate-specific antigen) began to rise. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland often found in increased amounts in the blood of patients with prostate cancer. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

Fransen had regular checkups with his urologist and they watched the numbers during the remainder of that year and in 2007. In 2008, he elected to have a prostate biopsy performed; he learned he had prostate cancer.

The other measurement used in this type of cancer is the Gleason score. It’s a system of grading prostate cancer tissue based on how it looks under a microscope, according to the National Cancer Institute. Scores range from 2-10 and indicate how likely it is that a tumor will spread. A high score means the tissue is very different from normal and the tumor is more likely to spread.

At the time of Fransen’s biopsy, his Gleason score was thought to be a 7. It was unknown if the cancer cells had spread, Fransen said.

“The reaction to hearing you have cancer can be devastating at first, primarily because you have no idea what to expect,” he said.

It may be no big deal or knowing that prostate cancer can be fatal, Fransen said. He wondered where he fell in this potential range. His next task was to learn as much as he could.

Fransen researched the topic through the Internet, and he leaned heavily on his sister, a board certified MD in oncology and internal medicine.

Fransen learned of choices including surgery (prostatectomy), radiation seeds, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. His conclusion was to have it removed, so he elected a prostatectomy. Then the decision was to do the surgery via the traditional method of open surgery or via lapriscopic. Again, the research began. He elected to have the robotic (lapriscopic) surgery, which was performed in November 2008.

The physician wanted Fransen to begin radiation therapy just to be safe due to two reasons. First, the Gleason score from the biopsy turned out to be a 9 rather than 7. And there was concern cancer cells existed around the edge of the prostate.

He had signed up and almost began traditional radiation therapy (IMRT) when he went by the Procure Proton Therapy Treatment Center that was just opening. He began research and learning about proton therapy and decided he wanted to use that technology.

“Without me learning more about my options and learning more about side effects, I would have been treated differently, and in my opinion, not have had the current success I have had,” Fransen said.

When times were tough, Fransen leaned on friends who provided constant support and his sons; he was not married at the time of the diagnosis. His Bible study group also was there for him. He says he believes that without God’s involvement, there is no way his cancer could be completely gone.

“I feel prayer was an important element of me coping and getting through the tough times,” Fransen said. “My sons were also vital in helping me cope.”

Humor also helps, Fransen said. Having cancer changes your outlook on life. Fransen said he cherishes it more now. A diagnosis of cancer is not automatically a death sentence — don’t treat it that way, he said.

As of his last PET Scan, he was shown as clear of cancer cells. The current progrnosis is no cancer, no treatment. It takes about 1 million cells before they show up on most scans, so he will continue to monitor his health through scans and blood tests.

The introduction of widespread PSA screening led to a dramatic increase in the incidence rate of prostate cancer, which peaked at 237 new cases diagnosed per 100,000 American men in 1992, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Text Only
  • Oklahoma History Center new home for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame has a new home at the Oklahoma History Center. Created in 1999, the hall of fame, operated by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, has been housed the past several years at Oklahoma Christian University but there was no available space to display photographs and information on the inductees.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Annual Turkish art and food festival set for April 26-27

    Raindrop Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization that seeks to promote friendship and understanding through shared understanding and community experiences. This free event is set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 26 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 27 at 4444 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City.
    This year Raindrop Foundation will bring cultural entertainment and education to Oklahoma City area by presenting the Annual Turkish Art and Food Festival. The festival will feature Turkish folk dances, traditional music, water marbling art, whirling dervishes, calligraphy, traditional art of felting, China pieces as well as original arts and crafts for sale to the public.

    April 18, 2014

  • Health seminar focuses on Oklakhoma’s high suicide rate

    OU Outreach and Norman Regional Health System are offering a new health seminar titled “Circle of Care Methodology: Risk Assessment and Prevention of Suicide.” The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center. Suicide touches many people’s lives. This seminar focuses on the Circle of Care Methodology, which engages a holistic and mitigating approach to the issues and care that is required to address suicidal ideations, attempts, completions and the aftermath.
    The cost is $45 per person, and seating is limited. There will be free parking onsite for all seminar attendees. For more information, visit

    April 18, 2014

  • Film documentary explores hunger in America

    The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will host a screening of the 2012 documentary, “A Place at the Table,” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Food Bank Volunteer Center, 3355 S. Purdue, Oklahoma City. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The story documents the struggle of food insecure people in the United States.
    Author Joel Berg will be present as a featured guest. Guests also will have the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion about the issue of hunger in our communities. The screening is free, but seating is limited to 275 people. For more information, go online to

    April 18, 2014

  • Nominations being accepted for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation is accepting nominations through June 1 for inductees into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Oklahoma veterans including Medal of Honor recipients have been being honored by the hall of fame since 1999. A banquet and ceremony honoring those selected this year for the hall of fame will be Nov. 8 at the Tower Hotel, formerly Marriott Hotel, at 3233 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City.
    Nominees can be living or deceased. Nomination forms can be obtained by writing to the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 30658, Edmond, OK, 73003; or on the foundation’s website at

    April 18, 2014

  • Annual wheelchair basketball tournament set

    OU Medicine will present the 6th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, benefiting the Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association, April 24 at Oklahoma City University. Teams from OU Medicine administration, anesthesiology, neurosurgery, nursing, otolaryngology, surgery and urology, and a team from 180 Medical will compete in 10-minute exhibition basketball games against wheelchair athletes from GODSA. All participants will compete in wheelchairs.
    The free event will begin at 5:40 p.m. at OCU’s Freede Wellness Center, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave. Fundraising activities including a silent auction, baked goods sale and more. Funds will help GODSA athletes purchase sports equipment and travel for national basketball tournaments. For more information, call 271-6900.

    April 18, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 18, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014