Rensselaer County executive discusses his cancer diagnosis

TROY — Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin says blood tests first signaled that something is wrong.

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He says he takes care of himself and gets regular checkups, but the last one showed something unusual.

“So you know routine blood work, once a year, and PSA level was up, not through the roof, but it was certainly higher than it had ever been,” said McLaughlin. “So my doctor said let’s wait a couple of weeks, do another test, just to be sure.”

Following another test and biopsy, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

He announced it Wednesday and said the reason he made it public was that it would have come out anyway, but more important, perhaps it will encourage other people to do their cancer screenings.

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“That’s the overriding reason is to get people to pay more attention if they’re not taking care of their health,” he said. “So I think it was probably the best thing to do. Nothing to hide and here it is and I’m healthy and I’m strong and I always picture myself as invincible, but none of us are. So maybe just a way to remind people, go get checked.”

The 59-year-old man says it was detected early, so they’re very optimistic.

He vows to keep working, as usual.

According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.

About one in eight will be diagnosed during his lifetime.

“It’s unsure at the beginning because you just don’t know. Nobody knows. You kind of get smacked by that,” he said. “You don’t feel sick and then you’re like, what is going on here? But I’ll be fine. I think that’s what the public should know, I’ll be out there fighting for them every day like I’ve done for the past 12 years I’ve been in politics.”

The county executive says he is still consulting specialists and working on a treatment plan.