Richard Dronen

First post: Mar 17, 2022 Latest post: Apr 28, 2023
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We’ve created it to keep friends and family updated about Dick. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most. Thank you for taking the time to visit.

As all of you likely know, several years ago Dick was formally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. While Parkinson’s has slowed him down and impacts him daily, he and Peggy continue to enjoy time with friends and getting outdoors for a walk, bike ride or possibly some pickleball. Last fall during a routine visit to the dentist they identified an infection that required a tooth extraction. Further evaluation by an oral surgeon led to additional tests, and in February doctors identified a mass in his upper jaw and sinus. Over the past several weeks, tests have slowly revealed that he has a rare form of cancer called Sinonasal Undifferentiated Carcinoma (SNUC). 

Dick has been fortunate to have strong medical advocates that directed him to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in GIlbert, AZ.  Not only is the facility close to their home, but it is widely recognized as one of the best cancer care facilities in the US.  Also, although rare, MD Anderson has a lot of experience in the treatment of SNUC. 

Meetings with the Oncologist team during the week of March 7 indicate that the tumor fills the right side of Dick’s maxillary sinus cavity and extends up towards his eye and down towards the mouth and jaw.  Although the tumor is extensive, they are pursuing a curative treatment approach, versus palliative. For SNUC diagnosis, radiation and chemotherapy are generally recommended over surgery.  For Dick, 7 weeks of 5 day-a-week radiation treatments is scheduled to begin the week of March 21.  Given the state of his general health as relates to Parkinson’s the care team will be assessing chemotherapy options but, at the moment, it seems it will not be pursued in parallel to radiation.

Thank you again to all of the friends and family that have reached out with prayers, words of comfort and care, and local assistance in AZ. As Dick begins his treatment journey, we will continue to provide updates in regular posts to this site.  

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