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Boosting Accuracy and Patient Comfort in Prostate Cancer Treatment Planning


Having the right technology in place can boost patient confidence in therapy.

One of the most common cancers among men in the United States, prostate cancer is second in prevalence only to skin cancer. Approximately 12.5 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetimes. Put another way, out of every 100 American men, approximately 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about two-to-three men will die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even so, survival rates for prostate cancer are generally good, with a five-year relative survival of 97.5 percent. Survival is high because many prostate cancers grow slowly or not at all. The goal of screening is to detect cancers that may grow if not treated.

Once detected, there are multiple ways to treat prostate cancer. Every patient is different. What works for one patient may not be the best solution for another patient. There is no single roadmap.

Once diagnosed, effective radiation treatment planning is a key factor in driving successful outcomes.At UroPartners’ Cancer Treatment Center in Gurnee, we have found that a state-of-the-art oncology CT Simulation System that increases accuracy of treatment—while also keeping patients comfortable—is delivering excellent results for our clinicians to define treatment volumes.

This article explores how the technology found in the Fujifilm Persona CT supports our team of physicians and the specific benefits it offers to clinicians and patients.

Understanding the Male Patient

Every seasoned physician knows that healing is a two-way street. Doctors can’t do it alone. It requires the active participation of the patient, as well. Just as a physician must guide and implement the right treatment, a patient must accept and welcome treatment in order for healing to begin.

Physicians sometimes face unique challenges when treating men. For starters, many men are reluctant to visit the doctor. Physician dodging is a widespread phenomenon among men, according to a 2019 Cleveland Clinic Survey, which found that only 50 percent of men engage in preventive care, such as getting their annual check-up.

In fact, 72 percent of men surveyed said they would rather clean the bathroom or mow the lawn than go to the doctor.

Now imagine the man who gets a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He faces a unique set of emotional issues. The diagnosis of cancer in itself can be terribly upsetting, but the stigma associated with prostate cancer is something more.

For a man with prostate cancer, there may be a sense of emasculation or even guilt for not being able to have intimate relationships due to anxiety and fear. Moreover, patients with loss of libido and erectile dysfunction due to the disease and treatment are at increased risk of depression, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and fear of disease progression.

Finally, many of these men are fearful of treatments that may impact their ability to have an erection and/or cause incontinence issues.

Simply stated the male patient— and especially the male patient undergoing prostate cancer treatment—needs to feel confidence with his physicians as well as with his oncology treatment plan. Patient comfort and easing anxiety are key factors in that process.

The Treatment Planning Process

Partnering with patients to make healing happen is a priority at UroPartners. Our organization is the largest independent urology group in the Midwest, providing advanced urologic care with a team of more than 90 providers and 37 locations across Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

Our radiation oncologists use a variety of advanced technologies. These include intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), SpaceOAR, Calypso 4D Localization System, and brachytherapy alone, or combined with other modalities in managing prostate cancer.

By combining extensive experience and training with the latest technology, UroPartners provides patients with the personalized and compassionate care they deserve. From initial consultation and throughout treatment, our radiation oncologists partner with other specialists and patients every step of the way.

Between our three centers, we treat approximately 310 patients annually for prostate cancer. Recently, we invested in the Persona CT system from Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, Inc., for our Cancer Treatment Center in Gurnee, Ill.

Since the Persona CT system was installed in January 2021, we have had nothing but great success in treatment planning for prostate cancer.

Following a patient’s initial consultation, one of our radiation oncologists works with the rest of our team to design a personalized treatment plan. The patient must undergo a CT scan as the first step to ensure accurate targeting of the disease.

The key goal of the CT planning scan is to identify the specific treatment area so that we properly target the cancer and spare healthy tissue. Accurate delivery of the radiation throughout a man’s treatments is critical to a successful outcome. Fujifilm’s Persona CT is helping us achieve that goal.

Benefits of a State-of-the-Art CT System

Prostate cancer treatment planning is a complex endeavor. When coming up with a treatment plan, it’s important that the physician sees the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, lymph nodes, bladder, rectum and hip joint.

Our Persona CT is a leading-edge CT system that offers advanced oncology simulation and general radiography imaging capabilities—all with a focus on the patient experience, as well. At UroPartners, we have found the Persona CT provides significant clinical and patient comfort benefits—both of which contribute to successful treatment planning.

Let’s start with some of the clinical benefits. Persona CT is more accurate than traditional CT scanners. For example, it features a 128-slice image count as compared with an 8- or 16-image slice count of traditional scanners. At UroPartners, it delivers clear, high-resolution images every time.

There are specific features that we also find beneficial. From my personal experience, Metal Artifact Reduction (MAR) is a great feature that has allowed us to better see the prostate and lymph nodes when a patient presents with metal in their body.

MAR is a projection-based reconstruction technique that restores anatomical details often obscured by metal in conventional image reconstruction. MAR automatically identifies areas affected by highly attenuating objects and reconstructs improved images for increased clinical confidence. Next generation MAR dramatically removes and/or reduces the streak artifact created by metal.

In addition, Sun Nuclear laser positioning coupled with the world’s first 85-cm CT bore means Persona CT is designed to ensure patients can be imaged in the optimal treatment position, while maintaining the positional and accuracy requirements of radiation oncology.

While enhancing clinical confidence is key, boosting patient comfort is equally important to the treatment planning process.It’s no secret that patients are more at ease when they are comfortable. Reducing anxiety in patients cannot be underestimated because it helps us deliver better care.

The Persona CT’s large, wide open bore keeps patients of all sizes calm, as it likely induces less claustrophobia than many other machines. Moreover, the Persona CT features high speed scanning which is especially welcome by patients who have trouble holding still. To help reduce side effects UroPartners treats patients with full bladders. The shorter scan time also helps increase patient comfort. The sooner we can get the scan done, the sooner the patient can move forward with his treatment program.

Driving Early Detection, Improving Cure Rates

In 2021, there will be an estimated 248,530 new cases of prostate cancer, and approximately 34,130 men will die of this disease.

Clinicians must do everything possible to not only deliver proper treatment, but also help drive early detection of the disease in the first place, which helps improve cure rates.

At UroPartners, we are committed to raising awareness about the importance of prostate screening. To that end, we participate in the SEA Blue National Prostate Cancer Walk and Run held in Chicago. Each September, close to 1,500 participants gather in beautiful Lincoln Park to partake in the SEA Blue walk and run to raise funds and awareness for those affected by prostate cancer.

SEA Blue is a celebration of life, of those who have risen to the challenge to fight prostate cancer, of the lives that have been lost to the disease, and of the people we will help to combat it in the future through Support, Education, and Advocacy (the SEA in SEA Blue). People affected by all stages of the disease band together and build camaraderie at SEA Blue through togetherness, tears and triumph.

Raising awareness so that more men get screened is the first step. But treating men once they’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer is our primary mission at UroPartners.

Having the right technology – like Fujifilm’s Persona CT – to support our radiation therapy planning gives us an added dose of confidence…while giving our patients an extra dose of comfort.

Yashbir Mehta, M.D., is a radiation oncologist with UroPartners.

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