Active surveillance alternative to treatment for certain prostate cancer patients

Sylvester researcher studies men with slow-growing tumors

Courtesy photo (UHealth)

Sanoj Punnen, M.D., is a researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and urologist with Desai Sethi Urology Institute. For more information about prostate cancer treatment and services, click here or visit the UHealth blog.

Meet Jack Edwards:

Ten years ago, Jack Edwards received a life-changing phone call.

“They said, ‘You have cancer of the prostate. You need surgery,’” says Jack.

Jack sought a second opinion with Sylvester researcher Sanoj Punnen, M.D. who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is actually the most common cancer that guys will get in the United States. Almost one in seven men are at risk for prostate cancer,” Dr. Punnen says.

Dr. Punnen, a urologist with the Desai Sethi Urology Institute - part of the University of Miami Health System, is studying patients with slow-growing tumors who may never need surgery.

“The majority of men, when they’re diagnosed, their cancers are localized to the prostate,” Dr. Punnen explains. “We’re getting more and more confident that these types of cancers don’t need immediate treatment, whether it’s surgery or radiation.”

In certain cases, Dr. Punnen recommends active surveillance which is based on a patient’s pathology.

“We’ll do a PSA usually every six to 12 months, we’ll do an MRI often every year or two, and then we’ll do biopsies,” says Dr. Punnen.

Jack avoided surgery and its side effects with active surveillance for five years. Then Dr. Punnen and his team gave him the good news!

“You’re doing great. You don’t need anything else,” says Jack.

Jack and his wife just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have a message for Dr. Punnen.

“He changed the fate of my life,” Jack says.

Focusing on you

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