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Russ Conrad

Cancer Treatment - Close to home, in just a few minutes

Russ Conrad, a local radio DJ, also known as “Buddy Russ” to Southwest Louisiana residents, was diagnosed with cancer in December 2021. Like most patients, it was the last thing he would ever expect to deal with. His love for Lake Charles is strong and runs very deep in the community. When he’s not at the radio station, you can find him participating in community events, charity events, and various activities across SWLA. Whether you are attending a dinner event, wedding, a benefit, a Bingo, or even a Mardi Gras parade, you can always recognize the voice of “Your Buddy Russ.”

How It All Began

In late 2021, Russ began experiencing difficulty breathing from one side of his nose. When the issues didn’t subside after trips to his doctor, an ENT was able to identify an abnormal growth inside of his left sinus cavity. The growth was successfully removed, and Russ expected that he would move on and continue on his way. However, at the post-op appointment the doctor relayed discomforting news: he had olfactory neuroblastoma.

Unsure, at the time what this meant, Russ assumed it wasn’t great news. The doctor continued to let him know that it had spread to both of his sinus cavities and was in close proximity to his brain. He was told a second surgery was needed to remove the cancer.

“Everyone says these are the three words you don’t ever want to hear, and I can tell you, you don’t!” Russ recalls, “It still didn’t set in until I went home and showed my mom, a 30-year nurse. She looked at me and said, Russ, you have cancer.”

“It still didn’t set in until I went home and showed my mom, a 30-year nurse. She looked at me and said, Russ, you have cancer.”

A Local Option for Cancer Treatment

Because of the sensitive location, the cancer required specialized targeted treatment. In addition to chemotherapy, Russ was to receive radiation therapy five times a week over 30 days.

“The chemo was to weaken the cancer and the radiation was going to do the heavy lifting, like getting rid of a tree stump,” explains Russ.

Finding it more feasible to receive radiation treatments locally, Russ’ oncologist in Baton Rouge worked together with the Radiation Oncology team at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center. This allowed Russ to minimize his trips to Baton Rouge, and stay close to his family and friends.

“If you are on the fence, at least talk to the staff at Lake Charles Memorial. They have the people, the facility, and they have the equipment that the big boys have in Houston and Baton Rouge,” Russ says.

"They have the people, the facility, and they have the equipment that the big boys have in Houston and Baton Rouge."

Renewed Energy for a New Mission

Russ now continues his work not only fulfilling his childhood dream of being in radio but continuing to be involved in the community. He now uses his platform to do more outreach to other cancer patients along with those patients’ support teams of friends and family. He says, “I always want them to know their ‘Buddy Russ’ has their back.”

Life after a cancer diagnosis may never be as it was before. Russ uniquely describes it as: “normal is just a setting on a dryer.” His experience with cancer, he says, really put life into perspective. He now has a deeper appreciation for all the twists and turns life can throw at you as you try as hard as you can to find even a small silver lining in it all.

And now, some wise words from your “Buddy Russ”:

“Tell someone you love them. Make it weird, make it awkward, make sure the people around you know you care about them, because life is just stupid short.”

“Tell someone you love them. Make it weird, make it awkward, make sure the people around you know you care about them, because life is just stupid short.”

For more information on radiation oncology services available at LCMHS, nationally recognized cancer treatment center, please visit lcmh.com/cancer or call 337.494.3000.