Diagnosis: Prostate cancer
Treatment: Brachytherapy with SpaceOAR
When Joe Erickson sat down with the radiation oncology team at EvergreenHealth, he knew their transparent approach to treatment options was just what he needed to start his battle against prostate cancer.
What he didn’t know was that he would be a prime candidate for a procedure that has been hailed as the last decade’s most significant advancement in prostate cancer care.
The new treatment is being pioneered by Dr. R. Alex Hsi, a radiation oncologist specializing in brachytherapy at EvergreenHealth’s Halvorson Cancer Center.
“Though it’s common for many men with prostate cancer to experience excellent outcomes and survival rates, radiation treatment can be damaging to neighboring organs, and that can have a significant impact on patients’ quality of life,” Dr. Hsi explained.
“We've discovered a new intervention, called SpaceOAR, that can improve patients’ comfort and reduce radiation exposure to normal tissues by 75 percent.”
SpaceOAR is a gel-like substance that's injected between the prostate and the rectum, where it serves as a protective barrier throughout the course of radiation treatments.
After about six months, it naturally dissolves and safely reabsorbs into the patient's body.
The gel was approved by the FDA in 2015 following extensive clinical trials led by Dr. Hsi and a team of researchers.
Erickson, the first patient at EvergreenHealth to receive the treatment, is optimistic about his prognosis. “There have been a lot of decisions to make about my treatment so far, and there will be more, so I feel lucky to have such a great team on my side.”