Press Release

Stanford Experts to Offer Latest Prostate Cancer Information in Free Panel Discussion on Sept. 8

09.04.2012

Prostate Cancer Patient Says Key to Survival Is Early Detection and Action

STANFORD, Calif. — As part of prostate cancer awareness month, a panel of Stanford Hospital & Clinics experts will share the latest screening and treatment information in a free panel discussion about the disease, the second leading cause of death among American men.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8,  at the Sheraton Palo Alto, 625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. Seating is limited.

Moderating the 90-minute panel discussion will be Eila Skinner, MD, chair of Stanford's Department of Urology. She will be joined by other Stanford prostate cancer experts who will cover the following topics:

  • Prostate Cancer Screening and Watchful WaitingBenjamin Chung, MD, director of minimally invasive urologic surgery  
  • Update on Surgical Prostate Cancer Treatments—Mark Gonzalgo, MD, PhD, director of robotic-assisted urologic cancer surgery and physician leader of the Urologic Cancer Care Program
  • New Treatments for Metastatic Prostate CancerSandhya Srinivas, MD, a medical oncologist and member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Prostate Panel

Those unable to attend the event can pose questions to Skinner from Sept. 4 – 11 via Twitter using the hashtag #AskSUMed and through the Stanford School of Medicine's Scope blog as part of the Ask Stanford Med series. Answers to a selection of the questions will be posted on Scope at the end of September.

Dealing with difficult decisions: A patient's perspective

Norbert von der Groeben

"The key for me was catching the cancer early and doing something about it early," Khalil said.

Two-thirds of men with prostate cancer will be diagnosed at age 65 and older.

Not long after his 65th birthday, Bay Area resident Gilbert Khalil found out he had prostate cancer (read more and see a video about Khalil here). Like the one in six American men who develop this cancer over a lifetime, he faced a series of difficult decisions: Should he have surgery or radiation, or both? Or should he do nothing? Khalil and his wife, Stacee, wanted to know all the pros and cons for each option. The stakes were high, the answers clearly of life-or-death importance.

The couple met with Gonzalgo at Stanford to discuss the common questions men with this diagnosis often ask. Gonzalgo laid out various possible treatments for Khalil, who chose surgery after a couple of months of "painstaking discussion," Khalil said. "The key for me was catching the cancer early and doing something about it early. Some people younger than me may decide to not do anything."

Given the risks that come with any surgery and with radiation, many men will choose what the medical community calls watchful waiting. More than 2.5 million men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are alive today after a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer, like other forms of cancer, can grow at various rates. Some men can live for many years with untreated prostate cancer.

For others, treatment is unavoidable – and the disease may resist all the traditional approaches. Last year, Stanford became one of a limited number of health care sites in the United States to offer the prostate cancer treatment called Provenge, the first FDA-approved therapeutic cancer vaccine. Built on research by Stanford physician-scientists Ed Engleman, MD, Ronald Levy, MD, and Samuel Strober, MD, Provenge consists of a patient's own immune system cells that have been power-boosted and sensitized to eradicate a certain prostate cancer protein. The technique teaches a patient's immune system to recognize cancer as an enemy, something once thought impossible. Such a treatment avoids the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and the risks of surgery.

Khalil recovered quickly from his surgery. "I've gained everything back," he said. "I was really blown away by how fast I was able to recover. It's a very difficult decision to make and nobody guarantees a 100 percent recovery, but I was very confident in everything I found here at Stanford."

For more information about prostate cancer surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, call 650-725-5544.

About Stanford Health Care

Stanford Health Care (SHC) seeks to heal humanity through science and compassion one patient at a time, through its commitment to care, educate, and discover.  Across its health system of inpatient care, outpatient health centers, medical groups, health plan offerings, care navigation and virtual care services, Stanford Health Care provides patients with the very best in health and care through its unique leading edge and coordinated care approach.

Stanford Health Care is widely recognized for delivering the highest levels of care and compassion, while also discovering breakthroughs for treating cancer, heart disease, brain disorders, primary care issues, and many other conditions.  Stanford Health Care and its Stanford Hospital, along with Stanford Children’s Health and the Stanford University School of Medicine, are committed to delivering Stanford Medicine excellence to each and every patient and family served.

For more information, visit: www.stanfordhealthcare.org

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