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Prostate Cancer Treatment Has Advanced

Vasily J. Assikis, MD is a physician at Piedmont Cancer Institute, P.C. in AtlantaAccording to figures from the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 men aged 50 to 70 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year; an expected 7,900 in Georgia alone. Even with this large number, doctors are optimistic, saying the cancer is typically slow growing. Most doctors say a man will die with the cancer and not from the cancer. “The cure of advanced prostate cancer remains elusive” said Dr. Vasily Assikis of Piedmont Cancer Institute, P.C. “Radiation and surgery fail to cure everyone, with 1 in 3 not cured. However, current research and advancements in medicine will continue to help us find better options to treat our patients.”

Over the past five years, new treatment options have become available. Traditional radiation therapy is given over the course of 8 weeks, but with new Stereotactic body radiation, a patient may only need a total of five daily doses. This radiation treatment is combined with a rice-size module called a Calypso. Three Calypso modules are inserted in the prostate, enabling doctors to see a 3-D picture so radiation can be delivered to a specific spot. Another new modality doctors are using is a vaccine called Provenge. When a doctor and patient make the decision to use Provenge, the patient has their blood drawn and their white blood cells treated with the vaccine. The blood is then transfused back into the patient, where it begins attacking the cancer cells. Neither of these treatment options guarantee survival, but they are a step in the right direction as well as results of medical advancements and research through clinical trials.

Although treatment options continue to improve, patients are still encouraged to have prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, tests as a routine screening. This test is not 100% reliable, but doctors believe it is the best preventative test currently available.

Piedmont Cancer Institute, P.C. is currently conducting two prostate cancer clinical trials. If you are interested in discussing these or any other clinical trials offered by PCI or if you would like to learn about other opportunities to participate in a research study, please contact PCI’s Research Department at 678-298-3235. You may also visit the PCI website at www.phoc.com to learn more.

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