A routine blood test led Derrick Dozier to seek a personalized treatment plan
When Derrick Dozier went to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he was there to help people clean up and rebuild their lives. Little did he know the trip would also save his own life.
During his time there, Dozier donated blood and gave little thought to the free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing the organizers were offering to donors. Shortly after his return home to Gahanna, Dozier received the startling results of that PSA test, a screening tool for prostate cancer.
“Both my father and grandfather had prostate cancer, so I’d always been diligent about getting annual PSA tests and exams,” says Dozier. “I was shocked when the results from the New Orleans test came back elevated. It is so important to know and track your PSA score, and to see a urologist if it changes”
Dozier quickly went into action and saw a urologist. For many prostate cancer patients, those early moments are a confusing time of treatment options and information overload.
“There is so much information out there about
Michael Langan, MD
Q.What's a PSA score and what does it mean to me?
A.PSA score reflects your level of prostate-specific antigen. Although the score issued as a prostate cancer-screening tool, it is not a definitive test. An elevated PSA does not necessarily indicate prostate cancer. Tracking annual PSA scores can help guide the need for additional testing. The "normal value" of a PSA score can also vary based on age, ethnicity and race.
treatment options. It can overwhelm patients,” says Steven Clinton, MD, leader of the Prostate and Genitourinary Oncology Clinic at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. “We are bringing together experts from various specialties in one clinic here at The James. Rather than having to go from office to office, our patients come to one clinic where they can consult with a variety of specialists, and the specialists can consult with one another. Together, we can develop the most personalized treatment plan for each patient.”
Dozier chose to have his prostate removed via robotic surgery. Unlike traditional surgery, robotic surgery has less blood loss, resulting in a quicker recovery period, according to Robert Bahnson, MD, chair of the Department of Urologic Surgery.
Other patients opt for radiation therapy, which can be delivered either internally or externally, according to Douglas Martin, MD, assistant professor of Radiation Medicine.
“Brachytherapy is an internal method of delivering radiation,” says Dr. Martin. “We implant radioactive seeds that deliver high doses of radiation directly to the prostate. It’s a good treatment option with minimal side effects for men with localized prostate cancer.”
When delivering radiation externally, physicians at The James use gold markers in the prostate gland to guide the radiation. Using images from a cone beam CT, doctors can precisely pinpoint the daily radiation, minimizing damage to the surrounding tissues.
Male sex hormones can cause the prostate to grow, so patients receive treatments that remove or block the hormones’ action and can stop cancer cells from growing. In many cases, doctors utilize various combinations of surgery, radiation, hormone therapy or chemotherapy to achieve the best results for each patient.
Dozier had his surgery in the winter of 2005, followed by radiation therapy, and just completed his hormone therapy, which was part of a national prostate cancer research trial. His prognosis is good and he’s feeling great. He says his treatment from the professionals at The James was “awesome.”
Robotic surgery benefits
Ohio State was the nation’s first hospital to utilize the daVinci® robotic surgical system for minimally invasive surgical procedures.
“The benefits of robotic surgery are short- and long-term,” says Ronney Abaza, MD, director of robotic surgery. “Short-term benefits include less time in the hospital, less blood loss, less pain and a faster recovery.”
According to Robert Bahnson, MD, chair of the Department of Urologic Surgery, minimizing blood loss is important because it removes the risk of a transfusion and allows you to regain energy more quickly.
The long-term benefits are improved erectile function and reduced incontinence