If Mike Spillane had to choose one word to describe his prostate cancer journey, it would be confident.
“I can honestly say that throughout my cancer journey, from diagnoses to treatment, every doctor I spoke to instilled confidence in me that I would be able to beat this,” remembers Spillane.
Like the 160,000 men the American Cancer Society says are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, Spillane faced two options for treatment: surgery or radiation. Both come with their own set of side effects as well as considerations surrounding a patient’s age and activity level. However, those who choose radiation therapy, like Spillane did, now have new options for improving comfort and shortening the duration of treatment.
Innovative Cancer Treatments Close to Home
Memorial Hermann Cancer Center-Memorial City now offers High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy as well as external beam radiotherapy using the SpaceOAR™ hydrogel system. HDR brachytherapy is a powerful form of radiation therapy that cuts the usual treatment time of five weekly treatments for eight weeks down to just two treatments. The hydrogel system decreases the probability of rectal injury during radiation.
“These two new treatments can be used together or separately,” says Shariq Khwaja, M.D., a radiation oncologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center. “Because the prostate gland is close to the bladder and rectum, it is important for radiation treatment to be as precise and accurate as possible. HDR brachytherapy is more precise than traditional radiation treatment. This new system provides separation of the prostate and rectum, protecting the rectum from high dose radiation.”
First in Houston
Dr. Khwaja is the first in Houston to be certified to use SpaceOAR™ technology.
“It is important as a physician to stay on top of the latest cancer treatments. There are innovations made every year, whether it’s improving efficacy or comfort, and we want to make sure we’re offering those options to our patients,” says Dr. Khwaja.
Spillane chose to utilize the hydrogel system along with traditional external beam radiation therapy, and says he was surprised by how easy the process was.
“I know what some people go through, and I feel lucky. I was able to continue my workout routine and experienced no pain during my treatments. I felt completely confident in all those I interacted with, especially Dr. Khwaja,” says Spillane.
All Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers are approved by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and collaborative team approach to coordinate the best available treatment option for each patient. With leading-edge technology, clinical excellence, and compassionate patient-centered care, Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers offer a diverse menu of innovative treatment options and therapies in locations around the Greater Houston area.
Learn more about prostate cancer treatment through Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers, or schedule an appointment with a Memorial Hermann affiliated urologist for a prostate cancer screening. For further reading, check out our Six Things Every Man Should Know About Prostate Cancer and how we’re Changing the Game in Prostate Cancer Detection at Memorial Hermann.