Prostate Cancer

At St. Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Institute, our coordinated team approach sets us apart.

All of our focus is on you, so to determine your best diagnosis and treatment options, our multidisciplinary team of specialists works together so you achieve the best possible outcome.

Our team includes experts in oncology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, radiology and integrative services who join with other St. Vincent’s medical professionals -- nurses, dietitians and therapists – to coordinate your total cancer care. Working with you as our partner, we make sure you receive compassionate, personalized attention.

Conditions We Treat

In addition to treating prostate cancer we provide comprehensive treatment for all types and stages of cancers of the urinary tract and male genital tract (genitourinary, or GU cancers) including:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Renal pelvis or ureter cancer
  • Urethra cancer
  • Adrenal cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Penile cancer
  • Nonmalignant tumors of the urinary tract and male reproductive system
  • We evaluate patients with elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

Our Diagnostic Approach

Early and precise diagnosis and staging of GU cancer is crucial to your successful treatment and recovery. At St. Vincent’s, our highly specialized and skilled radiation oncologists and pathologists utilize the most advanced technologies and techniques to pinpoint the location and extent of your cancer. Our diagnostic methods include:

  • PET (positron emission tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance) scans
  • High-resolution CT (computed tomography) scans
  • CT urogram
  • Trans rectal ultrasound

Leading-Edge Treatments

Our expert medical, surgical and radiation oncologists customize your prostate cancer treatment, decreasing pain, helping you recover faster and shortening your hospital stay. These techniques include:

  • Minimally invasive surgeries including laser, cryosurgical, laparoscopic and robotic procedures
  • Robotic surgery
  • Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Chemotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) utilizing the Novalis Tx platform
  • Prostate removal
  • Non-surgical active surveillance and/or radiation therapy

At our weekly Tumor Conference, our multidisciplinary team of medical and radiation oncologists, urologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurse navigators and all other caregivers review all prostate cancer cases in detail and determine which combination of treatment options will be most successful for each individual patient. This may include surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.

Advanced Technology Treatment for Prostate Cancer

St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care offers the latest radiation technology to effectively treat prostate cancer. The acquisition of the Novalis Tx® linear accelerator has facilitated a highly focused and image based approach that allows for improved outcomes with less toxicity or damage to surrounding organs.

  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

Intensity Modulated & Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IMRT/IGRT) 

The prostate gland is located between the bladder and the rectum. The gland has the ability to move depending upon the amount of urine or stool that is within these organs at any given time. It is therefore a technical challenge to account for this motion on a daily basis. If the radiation is delivered without accounting for such motion then the patient is at significant risk for damage to the nearby bladder and rectum, which can result in bleeding and pain.

Bleeding from the rectum as result of radiation damage Advanced Technology for Prostate Cancer is referred to as radiation proctitis and bleeding from the bladder is referred to as cystitis. The other important critical structures to avoid are the nerves that allow a man to have an erection for sexual intercourse to avoid issue with erectile dysfunction. Image guided radiation therapy or IGRT has revolutionized how radiation oncologists target the prostate gland.

Technological Advances

Although this concept seems simple, the ability to target organs with such precision is a relatively new concept. IGRT at the SWIM Center for Cancer Care consists of placing gold fidicual markers into the prostate gland prior to the treatment course. These markers serve as a surrogate to the gland and can be used to follow its motion and position.

It is a simple one-time 10-minute outpatient procedure that occurs prior to any radiation planning and the markers stay within the prostate gland indefinitely with no damage to the gland. The Novalis Tx has the most advanced imaging capability to find these markers daily just prior to treatment and if they differ from the desired location than multiple adjustments are made and treatment is only delivered under strict control to ensure precision and accuracy.

The other equally important technological advance is the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy or IMRT. This refers to the ability of your physician to adjust the daily radiation dose so that the maximum amount of radiation is deposited into the prostate gland. This technique ensures that the surrounding organs only receive lower well-tolerated doses that will not result in complications. Radiation doses used to be delivered in a very uniform way such that any organ or tissue in its path would receive the same dose.

The ability of our radiation team to utilize both IGRT and IMRT for our patients with prostate cancer means that we can deliver the highest possible doses of radiation to treat the tumor while minimizing the doses to the surrounding organs leading to high cure rates with minimal toxicity. This combination represents the most advanced techniques to deliver external radiation therapy and we are proud to be able to offer it to our community.

Support Services

The SWIM Prostate Cancer Institute (PCI), sponsored by St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound, educates men about the importance of prostate screening in detecting prostate cancer at the earliest and most treatable stage. The Prostate Cancer Support Group provides men with both education and support on a monthly basis. Topics include symptom management, nutrition, updates in treatments and the Buddy Network.

Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care