COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – When it comes to cancer, there is one category that may not receive as much attention as other forms of the disease
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and while it’s the second leading cause of death for American men, it’s not the most talked about.
âIf you look at population studies in the United States, about 13 in 100 will have prostate cancer in their lifetime, and 2-3 men will die of prostate cancer. “
Lexington Medical Center urologist Dr David Lamb says it’s only cases that are diagnosed. There is a large population of men who can get prostate cancer, and never know it
Unlike other cancers where early problems can be easily detected, the symptoms of prostate cancer are not so clear.
âThe main determinant is age, as men get older they will have a much higher example. It is one of those diseases that does not have many signs and symptoms. So we need to look for a population where it is common and screen for patients, âsays Lamb.
While prostate cancer is more likely to develop in men 65 and older, African American men are most at risk. The American Cancer Society reported that the number of new cases diagnosed in black men is almost 80% higher than the number of new cases diagnosed in white men.
Well now, thanks to new radiation therapy, early diagnoses of milder cases of prostate cancer can now be treated earlier
“Where we want to make an impact is diagnosing deadly prostate cancer, cancer that can kill people.” And we want to do it with as little impact as possible.
Brachytherapy, or seed implants, is a new form of internal radiation and it’s what doctors call a minimally invasive approach to treating prostate cancer.
âIf you look at radiation therapy, the problem with using external beam radiation therapy is that there is a time commitment to it. And it really involves several months of treatment on a small dose given daily. The idea behind brachytherapy is that we were able to compact it in one session.
Dr Lamb says the one-day procedure takes about an hour.
So how exactly does it work?
Lexington Medical Oncologist, Dr. Quillin Davis says he has been successful with hundreds of brachytherapy procedures.
âWe use an ultrasound to place radioactive iodine-125 seeds in the prostate. Each of these seeds, if you were to click the lead of a mechanical pencil and break it into little pieces, that’s about the size of those radioactive seeds, âsays Davis.
40 to 100 seeds are usually implanted, which stay in place permanently
And Dr. Davis says his team sees an 80-85% chance of curing prostate cancer with brachytherapy — and that side effects after treatment are minimal.
âSeed implant radiation therapy is always equal to or better than other modalities in terms of the quality of life of patients after treatment,â says Davis.
But treatment is not for everyone, for more serious diagnoses, surgery may be the best option.
Davis says the key is for the prostate cancer patient to make an informed choice that he believes is the right treatment for him.
“We really do eliminate patients who are doing well with that, some patients don’t fit in very well in their treatment, so we pick the right patients and we do a lot of them and I think that’s the reason for our success.”
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