Cancer of the Prostate
Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man's reproductive system. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.
Wake Forest Baptist Approach
Not all prostate cancer should be treated the same — treatment choice depends on many factors — and it is important to tailor treatment to the individual patient’s grade and stage of tumor, age, functional status, expectations, personality and lifestyle. Wake Forest Baptist takes a team approach to care with surgeons, medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists working together to determine the best options for each patient.
The Department of Urology is the point of entry for patients with prostate cancer. For convenience and ease of access, the Urology Center has easy parking and is located just minutes from Business 40. The facility offers endoscopic procedures, CT scans, ultrasound and lab studies all in one location.
Prostate biopsy is crucial to making a diagnosis of prostate cancer and in selecting treatment strategies. At Wake Forest Baptist, ultrasound-guided biopsy can be performed right in the clinic. Once the biopsy has been taken, results are interpreted by pathologists who are experts in the subtleties of prostate cancer histology.
Treatment options can include watchful waiting, hormone therapy, chemotherapy radiation and surgery. Wake Forest Baptist offers the most technologically advanced radiation therapies available, which are used as a primary treatment or in concert with surgery. For example, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) allows accurate placement of the radiation beams to spare tissue in the bladder, rectum and penile bulb. Implantation of three gold chips in the prostate enables technicians to pinpoint the exact location of the prostate prior to each treatment.
Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer Can Include:
ROBOT-ASSISTED SURGERY: Ashok K. Hemal, M.D., director of the Department of Urology’s Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery Program, is a pioneer in the field who is associated with the development of several robot-assisted urological surgeries of the prostate, bladder and kidney. In the area of basic science research, Hemal works with the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine on nerve regeneration with the goal of
transferring laboratory-engineered nerves to prostate cancer patients undergoing radical prostatectomy as a way to induce early recovery of sexual function.
BRACHYTHERAPY: Wake Forest Baptist has the only Digital Integrated Brachytherapy (IBU) Unit in the U.S. The IBU concept integrates all aspects of brachytherapy treatment. Patient preparation, applicator insertion, imaging, treatment planning and delivery are all provided in a single, shielded room. Our High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy program is one of only three reference sites in the U.S. for showcasing Nucetron HDR brachytherapy procedures including prostate HDR.
INTENSITY MODULATED RADIATION THERAPY (IMRT) AND IMAGE-GUIDED RADIATION THERAPY (IGRT): IMRT focuses radiation on the tumor and surrounding at-risk tissues while sparing nearby normal tissues. Anatomic CT or MRI images are used in combination with computer-generated radiation dose calculations and a computer-controlled linear accelerator to conform or “paint” the radiation dose very precisely to match the shape of the tumor to be treated, avoiding critical structures that may be only millimeters away. The addition of daily IGRT allows reliable delivery of sophisticated IMRT plans despite variability in the location of the target by adjusting the position of the target to compensate for internal organ motion. This combination holds great promise for improving local tumor control and survival.