Larry Bunch refuses to be a victim -- and has a message for other men
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As 2019 comes to an end, a Prineville man is reflecting on how far he's come while battling five different cancers, and encouraging others to maintain a positive mindset when facing hard times.
In November 2015, Larry Bunch, 58, found a lump in his breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
After it was revealed he'd be facing a new series of health challenges, with chemotherapy and radiation, he soon realized defeating breast cancer was just the beginning.
"We got ready to do radiation, Meantime, Dr. Boone says, 'By the way because you have breast cancer, we're going to get your prostate checked,'" Bunch recalled Tuesday. "Lo and behold, the biopsy on that: 'You've got prostate cancer too, and it runs in the family.'"
Bunch has had several surgeries. He underwent chemo treatment and radiation for breast, prostate and colorectal cancer after more tests showed he had multiple cancers.
After beating all three kinds of cancer, Bunch was back on the road, driving for Western Heavy Haul, but he quickly returned to the doctor after feeling pain in his liver area.
This time, doctors at St. Charles Bend diagnosed him with liver and small bowel cancer, which he's still battling today.
While Bunch realizes many cannot believe what he's gone through, he uses it as an opportunity to spread a more important message: Men need to be more proactive about going to the doctor and having things checked.
"I know the ladies have checks that they go through," Bunch said. "They go through mammograms. We, as men, we just don't do that. I think there needs to be a more active, and I don't want to say advertisement, but men are just as susceptible to these diseases as you ladies are."
He also said cancer is not what it used to be -- in a good way.
"Cancer is not a death sentence any more, it hasn't been for a long time," he said. "That's the thing that I have to bring to the table: Cancer is not a death sentence unless you make it one."
Throughout this five-year journey, he says continuing to work kept him going.
"My best therapy for me was the ability to get back in the truck," Bunch said. "That what I wanted to do, and it's been the best therapy for me. In that truck, I'm all alone. I can cuss the cancer, I can cuss the politics, I can cuss my life. I can do whatever. I can turn that cab blue, but at the end of the day, I still have me."
To donate or get in touch with Bunch, call 541-720-2463.