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Sibley Magazine - Navigating Prostate Cancer with an Expert Team

Sibley On Health Spring 2016

Navigating Prostate Cancer with an Expert Team

Date: March 8, 2016

Patient care team
Ralph Moore, radiation therapist; Anees Ansari, radiation therapist; Antoinette Solnik, R.N., nurse navigator; Peter Ryan, patient; Curtiland Deville, M.D., radiation oncologist; and Sharon McGill-Davis, radiation therapist

“I was in shock when the doctor said I had prostate cancer.” When Peter Ryan received his diagnosis in spring 2015, he was an active 59-year-old husband and father with a job at the FDIC and a passion for whitewater kayaking.

“I immediately started researching where to go,” Ryan remembers. “I considered all the top U.S. cancer centers. I chose Johns Hopkins for two reasons; proximity—being able to access care at Sibley, and most importantly, their multidisciplinary approach. I didn’t want to just automatically go to a surgeon. I wanted to look at my options from a broader perspective. The Johns Hopkins Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic at Sibley considered my case across many specialties and reviewed all the options to reach a consensus. That’s the same collaborative team approach we take at the FDIC, and I know its value.”

Curtiland Deville, M.D., radiation oncologist, says the approach benefits patients and generally results in better outcomes. “Bringing together all experts to review a case and meet with the patient at one time and place is more effective, efficient and convenient,” says Dr. Deville.

The Clinic is a one-stop opportunity for patients with a prostate cancer diagnosis to have a complete review of their full history, lab results, imaging and pathology reports. In Ryan’s case, the team included urologists, medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists. “With this one-day review, patients don’t have to bounce from one specialist’s office to another,” Dr. Deville notes. “They have a chance to ask questions and hear about the latest therapies, research findings, new treatments and guidelines. Communication between physicians is also most effective when we discuss a case together in real time.”

Based on the characteristics of Ryan’s cancer, the team recommended radiation treatment concurrent with hormonal therapy. “Dr. Deville thoroughly explained all my radiation options,” says Ryan. “Mr. Ryan decided on intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), the nationwide standard of care for prostate cancer radiation,” Dr. Deville explains. “He tolerated treatment well, completed all therapy and has a very high likelihood of being cured.”

Ryan applauds the Clinic for providing nurse navigator Antoinette Solnik, R.N. to help patients get answers and stay informed. “Often that’s what’s missing in medicine—a person who can be your guide to experts and answers.”

“My advice? Find an expert team that considers every possible option before ruling anything out. Fight fatigue from your treatments with exercise—I biked to work every day from my radiation sessions at Sibley even when I was low on energy. And realize how key it is to have support from family or friends. My wife and son were incredible. Don’t try to go through this alone.”