Advancements in Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. In most men, it grows very slowly, rarely showing early symptoms. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, cryotherapy, hormonal therapy and/or radiation. In some instances, doctors recommend “watchful waiting.” EJGH, recognized as the region’s only member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, has innovated the biopsy and treatment methods associated with this cancer.
Dr. Sidd Padmanabha, a radiation oncologist at East Jefferson General Hospital, is a radiation oncologist who brings together knowledge, experience and advanced technologies to tackle prostate cancer. “There have been some significant advances that enable us to personalize our approach to prostate cancer,” he says. “Our team of urologists, imaging specialists and radiation oncologists are working together here at EJGH to improve outcomes for our patients.”
According to Dr. Padmanabha, there have been many advances in the imaging, diagnosis and radiation treatment of prostate cancer.
Advances in Imaging
MR Prostate is a high-resolution, detailed examination of the prostate that is one of the most accurate ways of assessing and staging disease without invading the body. Dr. Padmanabha uses an MR Prostate to evaluate the critical aspects of each prostate cancer case, including the nodes, the volume of disease or extension outside of the prostate. “We use a strong 3-Tesla magnet that provides detailed images, and our studies are read only by specialized radiologists who bring a lot of expertise to the table,” he says. “Imagine finally being able to see inside the pelvis and actually see the tumor within the prostate — obviously this game changer and this study is very important to the treating urologist or radiation oncologist.”
Fluciclovine PET (aka Axumin PET) is designed to pinpoint the location of recurrent prostate cancer within the body. In recent years, it has been shown that prostate cancer that has recurred can now be treated — and sometimes cured — with either further surgery or radiation. “I order a Fluciclovine PET since it’s an important study to tailor your approach,” Dr. Padmanabha says. “Remember that these cases can often be curative. We have gone from estimating where we thought the prostate cancer recurred to actually seeing by bringing in advanced imaging.”
Advances in Diagnosis
UroNAV is a system that allows our urologists to accurately pinpoint and biopsy different locations within the prostate that were identified on a MR Prostate. “I think of it as a GPS for the prostate,” Dr. Padmanabha says. “EJGH urologists have been busy doing MR-guided prostate biopsy since we set up our UroNAV system in 2014. Because we went online years before most other facilities, I feel that we have by far the most experience and highest volume.”
Advanced in Radiation Treatment
SpaceOAR is a technology that is used to protect the rectum by temporarily shifting it a bit away from the prostate. It involves injecting a soft, flexible, gel-like material that lies between the prostate and the rectum. “We are very excited about SpaceOAR and see it as an important step in continuing to provide superior outcomes in terms of efficacy and quality of life,” Dr. Padmanabha says.
Prostate Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (aka Prostate SBRT or Prostate SRS) is a way to precisely and accurately treat the prostate with a strong dose of radiation that is designed to cure the prostate cancer. Prostate SBRT is done quickly, generally within five treatments.
“Any new diagnosis of prostate cancer is very frightening,” Dr. Padmanabha says. “That is why when I first meet with a patient and his family, I make sure I answer all their questions. A lot of the fear comes from the unknown. I try to close that gap. I tell them what’s going on and what we can do about it.”
One drawback to all of these important new advances is that a lot of diagnostic studies and treatments can sometimes overwhelm patients. “When I have a new patient, especially a prostate cancer patient, explaining this can take quite a bit of time,” he says. “I try and leave enough time for new diagnosis appointments. I try to educate the patient as well as family members so when they leave my office, they are calmer and more confident.”
Dr. Padmanabha says he strives to be an excellent radiation oncologist who is approachable, accessible and generally there for his patients. Approachability means that he answers most patient and family phone calls on the same day, and that a physician from his practice always answers calls from their patients under treatment.
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Check out prostate cancer clinical trials at EJGH at ejgh.org/areas-care/clinicaltrials/prostate-cancer-trials/
New patient referral line: (504) 454-1750.
When asked to describe what is the most rewarding aspect of his career, Dr. Padmanabha says it is watching patients move past their cancer. “The best part is when I see someone who came to me with a tough problem, and I see them two, three, five years later and they’re doing well,” he says.
Although Dr. Padmanabha grew up in southern California and trained at Yale School of Medicine and UCSF, he is now at home in New Orleans. “I love my practice and the people I work with,” he says. “I fell in love with this city right away when I got to know its spirit of resilience. It’s been 10 years, and New Orleans continues to feel unique and special every day.”
Siddhartha Padmanabha, M.D.
East Jefferson Radiation Oncology
4204 Houma Blvd.
Metairie, LA 70006
MEDICAL SCHOOL: University of California San Francisco
RESIDENCY: Yale School of Medicine, Radiation Oncology
BOARD CERTIFICATIONS: Radiation Oncology