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Urologic Cancer Program Offers a Well Rounded Approach to Care

Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s Urologic Cancer Program offers some of the most advanced techniques, innovative technologies and most coordinated care available for individuals facing prostate, bladder, kidney or testicular cancer.

But the most unique aspect of the program is the complete patient care.

From an evidenced-based active surveillance program for prostate cancer, to a wellness program that assists patients in making lifestyle changes that can potentially improve their prognosis, to access to specialized physical therapists who can promote recovery from treatment, Hoag’ s program helps individuals with cancer make the most informed choices about their care.

“We call it ‘ analysis paralysis.’ They come in having Googled everything and it’ s just information overload,” said Sandy Southerland, B.S.N., R.N., O.C.N., clinical nurse navigator for the program. “We help them through that.”

Southerland has been serving cancer patients for more than 17 years, for the past five years in the capacity as the urologic oncology nurse navigator offering education, emotional support and the coordination of care for people undergoing treatment or active surveillance.

“I personally think we have the best program around,” Southerland said. “People come from all over and say, ‘ other centers I went to didn’t have a nurse navigator, pre-surgery education, pelvic floor exercises or a dietitian.’ These truly are the elements that set us apart. Our program is designed to minimize the emotional strain and the treatment side effects that are common to a cancer diagnoses.”

The physical therapists are provided as part of RESTORE HIM®, an integrative pelvic floor program designed specifically for men treated for prostate cancer. Other aspects of the wellness program include consultations with a registered dietitian, an exercise physiologist and smoking cessation specialists.

“Believe it or not, lifestyle and dietary habits can have a big impact on one’ s cancer. By professionally helping men and women improve their weight, diet or exercise routine, an individual will be able to take a more active role in their own health,” said Jeffrey S. Yoshida, M.D., program director and the Benjamin & Carmela Du Endowed Chair in Urologic Oncology.

This is particularly important for men with prostate cancer who are undergoing “active surveillance.” Unlike many other types of cancer, there are indolent forms of prostate cancer that do not require treatment. Active surveillance is employed in these cases so that a man can avoid the potential risks and complications associated with treatment. Hoag now has a research-based active surveillance program for prostate cancer offering the latest technologies to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Hoag recently introduced more advanced technology to help improve the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. “Fusion” prostate biopsy combines pre-biopsy MRI and ultrasound-guided biopsy imaging to create a 3D image of the prostate. This helps locate suspicious areas, reduce both false positives and false negatives and limit the need to remove the entire prostate.

For men who do require surgery for any urologic cancer, Hoag offers the most advanced robotic units and performs the largest number of robotic surgeries than any other hospital in the state. Robotic-assisted surgery is often faster, more efficacious and results in fewer complications – including incontinence and sexual dysfunction – than open surgery.

“A big part of what sets Hoag apart is the experience of our robotic surgery teams. Successful robotic surgery depends on a coordinated team approach – the surgeon, the support staff,” Dr. Yoshida said. “For one institution to have multiple units of the latest technology – and the skilled staff to support it – is pretty amazing.”

Working in conjunction with Dr. Yoshida and Southerland is a multidisciplinary team of experts also invested in the care of these urologic cancer patients, including board certified medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, specialized radiologists and pathologists, oncology dietitians, and as mentioned above, a team of physical therapists who provide pre-surgery pelvic floor strengthening.

Many times in addition to surgery, urologic patients will need radiation therapy as part of their care. Radiation therapy is a standard option for treatment of low risk to high risk prostate cancer, and can be used in the treatment of locally advanced prostate cancer or metastatic prostate cancer. It is also used as a treatment option in bladder cancer.

The most progressive options are available for prostate cancer patients including image guided IMRT-VMAT, IMRT by Tomotherapy, or SBRT. Many times, due to the advanced technology at Hoag, treatment time is only 5 minutes long and for only two weeks. Another new offering at Hoag is SpaceOAR hydrogel, the first FDA approved product used to protect the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

Throughout a patient’s journey through urologic cancer, this multidisciplinary team works closely with each other and the patient to ensure streamlined, advanced care.

For more information, call 888-548-4468.