Although robotics — the pioneering da Vinci Surgical System in particular — is today employed to treat a wide range of cancers, it remains an especially effective way to deal with the specific challenges of prostate cancer. Robotic surgery has also been shown to minimize recovery time, pain and side effects.
“Many of our prostate cancer patients are concerned about the side effects of treatment impacting their lives, robbing them of their vitality,” said Dr. Timothy Wilson, head of urology at City of Hope, a leading cancer treatment and research center in Duarte. “We are helping develop new techniques with the da Vinci that allow for even greater precision during surgery, as well as conducting clinical trials and a prostate cancer survivorship clinic that addresses quality-of-life issues after treatment.”
But robotic surgery is just one of many new options for prostate cancer. A host of cutting-edge treatments are available at leading Southern California medical centers.
Loma Linda University Cancer Center, in Loma Linda, is the only facility in the western U.S. to offer da Vinci robotic surgery alongside advanced proton radiation therapy, a noninvasive process that precisely targets cancerous tumors. Unlike traditional radiation, proton therapy normally has no side effects and spares surrounding healthy tissue.
As one of the world’s most prominent centers for prostate cancer treatment, Loma Linda also offers a range of progressive procedures such as cryotherapy, which uses inserted probes to freeze the prostate and kill cancer cells.
St. Joseph Hospital in Orange and Hoag Family Cancer Institute in Newport Beach recently joined forces to provide a comprehensive array of many of the most innovative and advanced prostate-cancer treatments and technology, including the latest generation da Vinci S HD Surgical System for minimally invasive radical prostatectomies using a high-definition optical magnification system manned by teams of surgeons.
Hoag’s radiation oncology program delivers state-of-the-art therapy including seed-implant brachytherapy, in which small probes are placed alongside or inside tumors to continually impart high doses of radiation without harming healthy tissue. For more advanced prostate cancers, tomotherapy combines high doses of radiation with the accuracy of a CT scan.
When cancer is found to have spread (metastasized) beyond the prostate, hormonal therapy is available, as well as systemic chemotherapy for certain forms of hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Increasingly localized treatments — some of which employ radiofrequency ablation and freezing techniques — are used to eliminate sites of metastatic prostate cancer with minimized side effects.
With the availability of all these treatment options, the outlook for patients with prostate cancer is more hopeful than ever — but as always, early detection is key. Hoag and St. Joseph are leading proponents of prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests to screen for prostate cancer — a method that leads to the earliest possible diagnosis.
As a result of PSA screenings, more than 90% of Hoag's patients have only localized, contained disease when diagnosed, and their five-year survival rate, since the early 1990s, has been 100%.
The collaboration of Hoag with the Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital brings a synergy that provides Southern California with convenient access to the most advanced treatments, preventive and diagnostic services, and clinical trials, said Deborah Proctor, president and CEO of St. Joseph Health.
“This affiliation is a catalyst to extend our mission and make a real difference in healthcare delivery by assuring a system of highly connected, quality services,” she said. “New access points will be developed to enhance community wellness and allow more people to benefit from the research and advanced care of a vast network of doctors, clinics and exceptional hospitals.”
—Bob Young, Custom Publishing Writer