EUGENE, Ore. — The Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center offers a cutting-edge treatment to help patients with prostate cancer improve their quality of life.
When William Marshall was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016 he said he was concerned about how traditional treatments could impact his life. He said he went to a support group and saw people wearing diapers and colonoscopy bags and worried he wouldn’t be able to do many of the things he enjoys like hiking, hunting, and fishing.
Then he saw a commercial about a new treatment the Cancer Center was offering.
The treatment is called SpaceOAR which is essentially a gel that is put between the prostate and rectum that separates the organs. Its designed for patients who use radiation to treat their prostate cancer. By separating the organs, the gel helps reduce the amount of radiation to organs surrounding the prostate. The gel is temporary and will only stay in the body for about three months before it dissolves.
Dr. Thomas Sroka, a radiation oncologist with the Cancer Center, said inserting the gel is a minimally invasive procedure that can reduce long-term side effects like chronic pain, irritation, diarrhea, and bleeding.
“Radiation treatments are already effective at curing prostate cancer, but this is really something now that is focused on just improving the patients quality of life during treatment and after treatment,” Sroka said.
Sroka said patients getting the treatment done are often able to avoid the negative side effects.
Marshall said the treatment changed his life and helped him manage his cancer.
“I’ve been able to do exactly what I have my whole life without any second thoughts about that cancer that I have that I now believe is gone,” Marshall said.
Marshall said now he wants to make sure other people dealing with similar circumstances know the treatment is an option.
Currently, Sroka is the only doctor in Oregon who can perform the procedure. However, he said Medicare has now recognized the treatment and he expects more doctors to become certified.