Prostate Radioactive Seed Implants Performed at AAMC
A team of Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) specialists recently began performing prostate radioactive seed implant procedures as an alternative treatment for prostate cancer. Radiation oncologist Angel E. Torano, M.D., urologist John E. Danneberger, M.D., and physicist Robert Siddon, Ph.D., perform the surgery as a team.
The prostate is a walnut-sized glandular organ of the male reproductive system. Positioned below the bladder, it surrounds the bladder neck and urethra and lies in front of the rectum. The main purpose of the prostate gland is to produce fluid for semen. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on screening for cancerous prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men over fifty. As a result, there has been an increase in early detection and subsequent treatment of a disease that affects most men who live to the age of 70.
AAMC treats more than 100 patients with prostate cancer every year. One third of patients elect radiation therapy, while the others opt for surgery. "Our goal is the same with each therapy for prostate cancer -- to achieve a cancer-free status within the prostate gland," said Dr. Stanley P. Watkins, medical director of AAMC's Oncology Program.
Neil Kinney, 73, of Annapolis was diagnosed with slow-growing prostate cancer in the fall of 1998. He was referred by a physician at Johns Hopkins to Ted Torano, a radiation oncologist and clinical director of AAMC's Oncology Center. After listening to Dr. Torano discuss various treatment options, Mr. Kinney elected brachytherapy. The minimally invasive procedure, performed by Dr. Torano and urologist John E. Danneberger, M.D., took two hours. After a single day of some localized discomfort, it was "business as usual," says Mr. Kinney, who recommends the treatment to men who match the qualifying profile.
The United States currently ranks 13th in prostate cancer deaths in the world.The incidence of prostate cancer has skyrocketed since 1987, with an 84 percent increase. The cause is linked to an aging population, improvements in clinical diagnosis of and screening for the disease, and increasing public and professional awareness of the disease.
"I would strongly urge men over 50, and African-American men over 40, to get screened for prostate cancer," says Dr. Torano. "Finding the cancer at its early stages, when most treatment options are available and the outcomes will be better, is important."
AAMC's Radiation Oncology Center, located in the Donner Pavilion at the Medical Park campus, opened in 1989 and serves Anne Arundel County as well as a larger number of patients from Calvert, Prince George's, Kent and Queen Anne's counties. In 1998, a total of 408 new patients received radiation treatment for a total of 10,705 treatment visits. The major cancers treated were breast, prostate and lung.
The facility provides external beam therapy, electron beam therapy, conformal therapy planning, prostate brachytherapy, low-dose rate intra-cavity and interstitial brachytherapy. The Radiation Oncology Center also offers access to national multi-center clinical trials in radiation therapy, as an affiliate with the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the nationally known Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.
In affiliation with the American Cancer Society, numerous patient support groups meet at AAMC's Oncology Center. These groups include a general support group for all types of cancer diagnoses, a prostate cancer support group and two breast cancer support groups -- one for patients undergoing treatment and another for those beyond their first year of diagnosis. Nutritional counseling is available to evaluate and assist patients with dietary concerns.