NEWORLEANS- New technology has revolutionized the way prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated and it can save lives and keep men from having aggressive treatment when they don't need it.
Richard Schwartz, 72, is about to have the quick procedure that will help him make a major decision in life.
'Emotionally it's really something when someone says cancer,' he recalls.
Schwartz has come in from Gulf Shores, Alabamawith his wife Sally, to have a prostate biopsy with the UroNav.East Jefferson General Hospital is one of only a dozen or so places in the U.S. that has this new technology.
'I'm just very thankful because before this, we were just very confused about what direction to go in or how serious it was, so today I think we'll know,' said Sally Schwartz as she is waiting for her husband tohave the UroNav procedure.
'I'm happy to have this opportunity. Really, it's cutting edge. It's the only placeI want to be,'said Schwartz.
While Schwartz is awake, but under sedation, LSU Health Sciences Center Urologist Oncologist Dr. Scott Delacroix,uses the system to take a small sample of each tumor. He knows exactly where they are because Richard had an MRI days before.
During the procedure, software can match the more preciseMRI pictures with the live ultrasound images so each biopsy is taken directlyfrom a tumor.Normally, with just the ultrasound guided biopsy, 12 pieces of tissue are randomly taken from an area of the prostate gland where tumors are more common,but tumors could be missed.
'With theMRI we can do one biopsy and be reasonably assured, nothing's 100 percent, but very reasonably assured that we biopsied the gland and you do not have cancer,' said Dr. Scott Delacroix Jr. He is the medical director of urological oncology at LSUHSC and EJGH.
Some men using the standard way with 12-needle biopsies, have come back with a diagnosis
of benign, when actually with theUroNav procedure they discover theyhave advanced, high grade, clinically significant prostate cancer growing.
'If we diagnosed breast cancer the way we diagnose prostate cancer, there would be an upheaval. Women wouldn't allow doctors to just stick needles randomly around the breast looking for breast cancer. But that's been the standard of care for prostate cancer for a long period of time,' Dr. Delacroix explained.
Now with this quick procedure, patientswill know if they can just watch the tumor or if they need aggressive radiation or surgery.
A week laterRichard got good news from pathology. He does not needradiation or surgery.Histumors just need to be watched.