Targeting Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men, but variations in each case and each patient drive individualized treatment plans.
Dr. Bradley Tamler, radiation oncologist
"We don't use a one-size-fits-all approach," says Dr. Bradley Tamler, a radiation oncologist at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. "We don't look at our patients just as men with prostate cancer, but consider each one holistically, with a complete health evaluation to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for the well-being of the whole person."
The treatment plan might involve external beam radiation, radioactive seed implant, surgery, hormone therapy, a combination of treatments, or close monitoring without treatment. If radiation is deemed the best treatment approach, at Community Hospital that means providing the continuum of care from a multidisciplinary team, with services including:
- Regular visits with the radiation oncologist overseeing the case. Community Hospital has three full-time, board-certified radiation oncologists with more than 50 years of combined experience, including teaching prostate-cancer care at the university level.
- On-site treatment planning by a full-time physicist and staff members specially trained in dosimetry, the science of calculating where, how, and how much radiation should be used to treat a tumor. Because it is in-house, the dosimetry team can work closely with the radiation oncologists.
- Treatments delivered by a team of six licensed radiation therapists.
- Access to nurses specially trained in working with radiation oncology patients.
- Guidance from a registered dietitian to ensure that nutritional needs are being met.
- Personal, stress-reducing services, including massage and valet parking.
The radiation treatment options for prostate cancer at Community Hospital represent the latest in the field, including:
- The MonacoTM treatment planning system, which is the most precise computer system for determining radiation doses. Community Hospital is one of the first medical centers in the United States to use the Monaco system.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), which enables radiation oncologists to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor before each treatment.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which delivers a customized dose of radiation to tumors while minimizing the effect on healthy tissue.
- Radioactive seed implants, placed directly in the prostate to deliver a high dose of radiation with limited damage to surrounding tissues. Community Hospital's implant program is accredited by the Seattle Prostate Institute at Swedish Medical Center, a pioneer in the treatment.
Community Hospital was the first healthcare provider on the Central Coast to provide intensity-modulated radiation therapy and image-guided radiation therapy, and it continues to add progressive treatments for prostate cancer.
"We have a full arsenal of treatments," says Dr. Neal Glover, radiation oncologist. "While some local treatment centers have only one level of energy beam, for example, we have four. That enables us to match the energy to the patient and to spare normal tissue."
All treatment is delivered in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only center on the Central Coast to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The award recognizes the quality, service, and scope of work done by the cancer center.
During cancer treatment, the hospital can start to feel like a second home, so the cancer center was designed to be as comfortable as possible for patients and their families. The 24,000-square-foot facility includes private consultation and exam rooms, a pair of radiation therapy suites, and the Health Resource Library, a free lending and research library for the public.