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Tony Dow

Actor, Director, Prostate Cancer Survivor

by Julie McKenna

For over two decades, celebrities have entrusted Coping® to tell the world about their personal experience with cancer. We are proud to present this exclusive interview from our archives and hope that it will inspire and encourage all who read it. This article was originally published in Coping with Cancer magazine, March/April 2003.

Celebrity Cancer Survivor

Tony and wife, Lauren

From his memorable role as Wally Cleaver in the Leave it to Beaver television series to starring in the theater production of Barefoot in the Park, Tony Dow has had a distinguished career in show business. He has found success not only in acting, but also in writing, producing and directing. Tony's most challenging role recently, however, has been that of surviving prostate cancer.

For over three years, Tony had an elevated PSA and monitored it closely over the course of several doctor appointments. In October 2000, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was faced with a difficult decision. He chose to have surgery, with no radiation or chemotherapy, and has been cancer free since then.

Tony wisely did extensive research before his operation to make sure that he understood his options.

"After the surgery I went in every three months for a check up and now I'm going in every six months," Tony says. "So far everything looks good and I don't have any side effects from the surgery. My stomach muscles took some time to recover but I feel great now."

Tony wisely did extensive research before his operation to make sure that he understood his options. He and his wife, Lauren, read as much as they could find and talked to several doctors. "Check out what all of your options are, make a decision, and then stick to it. Don't cause yourself stress by worrying if you made the right choice," Tony advises.

Tony credits the support of his wife and family with his successful recovery. They were there for him when he had to make tough decisions and while he was undergoing surgery. "Family and friends are the first priority in my life," Tony says.

Throughout his 40 years in show business, Tony has been involved in nearly every aspect of movies, television, and theater. For now, Tony is concentrating on spending time with his family and working on various documentary projects.

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This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, March/April 2003.