Regardless of the type that it is, the word ‘cancer’ can generate a sense of fear within anyone.
That’s why we’re exploring the steps that come after diagnosis, particularly in regards to prostate cancer.
According to Dr. Chaundre Cross, a radiation oncologist at 21st Century Oncology in Naples, up to 40% of prostate cancers do not need treatment.
Instead, they can be monitored by what is known as “active surveillance”.
That’s when a doctor keeps a close eye on a patient’s case - monitoring levels including PSA (Prostate Specified Antigens).
But for others who need further treatment, there are options.
That includes cutting edge technology right here in Southwest Florida, including the ‘Cyberknife Robotic Radiosurgery System’.
According to Dr. Cross, Cyberknife uses a laser-like system to deliver high doses of radiation.
Image guidance software helps this robot track and adjust treatment - even if the patient or tumor moves.
Cross says Cyberknife’s accuracy is sub-millimeter with no recovery time.
“That means being able to get back to that golf course, tennis court, or going back to work with minimal side effects and no blood loss.”
This method is used to treat cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Dr. Cross says even though ‘knife’ is in the name of the machine, there’s actually no surgery required - only cutting down on time.
“That allows us to treat cancer in five treatments versus the forty five usual treatments.”
When it comes to prostate cancer treatment, Cross says the only loss he sees is when men do not take action.
“Not getting screened - you’re kinda hurting yourself. Because if we do have to treat you when you’re a later stage or a higher burden of disease, that’s more treatment, more side effect, and your life expectancy is shortened,” he says.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation describes the prostate as a small, rubbery gland that’s the size of a ping-pong ball. It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Prostate cancer occurs when a normal prostate’s cells alter, and start growing in an uncontrolled way.
The foundation says there usually are not any early warning signs. However, in rare and advances states, symptoms like frequent urination and blood in the urine or semen can occur.
“Even though the majority of patients don’t need treatment, we need to find the minority that need treatment and we can impact their life expectancy," Cross says.
To learn more about the Cyberknife, click here.
To learn more about the Prostate Cancer Foundation, click here.