Steve Lavin mulling treatment options
NEW YORK -- St. John's men's basketball coach Steve Lavin is still weighing his options on what course of treatment he will pursue for his prostate cancer.
Lavin, 46, announced in early April that he was diagnosed with the disease last fall, prior to the start of his first season at St. John's, but the cancer was detected early and he decided to delay treatment until after the season.
"I've just been in the process of meeting with doctors, and I'd call it an informative or instructive experience," Lavin said Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, in his first meeting with reporters since the diagnosis was revealed. "And once I feel as though we've gathered enough information, just about picking the appropriate course of treatment or path of treatment [I'll make a decision.]
"I would say that I would probably make the decision in the next month."
The St. John's coach and former ESPN television analyst was asked what his initial reaction was, when he learned about his diagnosis last fall. "Disbelief," Lavin said, "and [I] naturally wanted to know what the next step could be, in terms of receiving advisement."
He decided to put off treatment, however, until after the college basketball season, when doctors gave him the green light to do so. Lavin piloted the Red Storm to a 21-12 record, and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002.
"You look at the composite view, and then you rely on the experts," Lavin said. "And between my PSA [score], my Gleason score, which is a result of them examining my biopsy, and they put it in a perspective based on all the research and the latest studies, where you fall in the whole spectrum of prostate cancer. The doctors I've been working with were confident that if I wanted to tackle it in the spring or the summer, there wouldn't be any risk or danger of it dramatically affecting my health."
Lavin has spoken with four urologists -- two on the West Coast, and two on the East Coast -- as well as a radiologist, as he sorts through his treatment options, which include surgery and radiation therapy. He has also spoken with several people who have already been treated for the disease, including Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker.
Lavin's father, Cap, also has beaten the disease. "Having a father who had prostate [cancer] at 61 years old, and now is 80, helps," Lavin said. "So I have someone that I was as close to as anyone in the world in my father [who's been through it.]
Lavin has also received a large bag of letters from St. John's fans and well-wishers. He said he was particularly touched after receiving a football from the New York Giants, signed by all the members of the coaching staff, with messages of encouragement.
Also a big source of encouragement has been his wife, Mary.
"She has always been my rock," Lavin said. "And she's naturally optimistic. She radiates sunshine, so that helps. She's got me in a regular workout routine, doing a lot of walking, and taking yoga classes, so that helps as well."
Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.
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