LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The month of November is coming to a close, and with it, WHAS11’s Movember campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
WHAS11 employees and community members joined together to raise awareness and funds and after 30 days raised $458. There’s still one day left, so if you want to make a last-minute donation you can do so here.
Throughout the month, we sat down with doctors in Kentuckiana to learn more about prostate and testicular cancers, how we treat them and what men can do to look out for their health.
Dr. Arash Rezazadeh, a medical oncologist with Norton Cancer Institute, said men need to be checking themselves at home to stay on top of their health.
“Starting with testicular health, a monthly exam, normally after taking a warm bath when the testicles are lower in the scrotum. Men should start checking themselves once a month at least, and if there is any lump or bump or any tenderness, or any change in the size of the testicle, they have to talk to their physician.
“If they have hesitancy and they cannot start urination right away, if there is blood in the urine, if there’s fullness or pain in the pelvis, if there’s blood in the sperm. You know these are early signs when the cancer is in the prostate itself. When it leaves the prostate, it could be other things like bone pain or fatigue and tiredness—things like that.
“It’s a much more detailed discussion as far as the screening for prostate cancer, but definitely if men have any symptoms, they have to see their primary care physician as soon as possible.”
Dr. Greg Steinbock, a urologist and co-director of research at First Urology, highlighted some of the new techniques for treating prostate cancer that years of diligent research has made available to today’s patients in Ketuckiana and the team of doctors in our area working together to treat patients of these diseases.
“Our team consists of the medical oncologist, two radiation therapy doctors, two pathologists, about eight radiologists and 25 urologists. That’s our team that we bring to bear for each patient, and we have a tumor board that [discusses] important concepts and difficult patients on a monthly basis.”
In seeking to tailor treatment to each individual patient, Dr. Steinbock says doctors now have access to new forms of treatments that weren’t available a few years ago.
“There are several that we utilize now that were available on a research basis three or four years ago, and one of those is the prostate cancer vaccine called Provenge. Provenge is a procedure whereby we’re able to stimulate a patient’s white blood cells to fight their cancer and we do that by a transfusion process where we remove the blood and the white blood cells, stimulate the white blood cells, and put them back into the patient. And that form of immune therapy is very unique, and that’s a great method of defense for us for patients with metastatic, or prostate cancer that’s spread. So that’s one.
“Another form of therapy we didn’t have before is called Xofigo, and that is made up of a radioactive element called radium-223 that we can inject into a patient who has painful bone spread of prostate cancer. It’s a series of six injections once a month for six months, and that medication goes to the areas of boney involvement and treats that cancer in that area and is proven to prolong survival.”
It’s developments like these that are contributing to what Dr. John Eifler calls a “renaissance” in how we treat these diseases. Eifler, a urologic oncologist with First Urology, says not only is the field experiencing rapid advancement in treatment and surgery options, but also in our ability to assess any given patient’s risk of developing these cancers before they experience symptoms.
“Over the past five years we’ve learned an incredible amount about prostate cancer genetics, and genes that have traditionally been thought of as breast cancer risk genes, like BRCA1 and BRCA2, we now recognize as important genes that can drive prostate cancer as well. And so, family histories of a number of different types of cancer can actually increase your risk of having prostate cancer and increase your risk of dying of prostate cancer. And I think we are just now at the tip of the iceberg of understanding how that process works and being able to utilize that new knowledge to treat patients in an optimal way.
“So, patients who come in and they have prostate cancers, we’re testing to see if they have these genes—in the appropriate circumstances—and if they do we can then notify family members that they are also at risk.”
Next November, join WHAS11 in the fight against prostate cancer and testicular cancer, and look for more stories on the evolving fight against these diseases.
If you would like to donate to the fight against these diseases, you can do so at moteam.co/whas11.
For more information on the Movember campaign, click here.