He asks any man over the age of 50, or over the age of 40 with a family history of prostate cancer or who is African American, to come see him. “If there are symptoms such as blood in the urine or severe back pain, you should come in to get screened,” says Vanlangdendonck.
Unfortunately, in the early stages of a disease, people typically are asymptomatic, which can make them reluctant to get screened, but Vanlangdendonck says there is no reason to fear the urologist. “The typical office visit is mostly a history and a physical exam, including a prostate or vaginal exam if necessary,” Vanlangdendonck says.
In urological cancers, some factors are out of our control. “Reducing your risk is having a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, reducing obesity, reducing smoking and getting screened,” says Vanlangdendonck. He notes that regular exercise and a low-fat diet can make a difference as well.
Vanlangdendonck always knew he would be a physician but did not decide to go into urology until he did a rotation in medical school and liked that he could see patients in the clinic as well as practice surgical procedures. “We develop a relationship with the patients, which is different from other surgical subspecialties, where you see the person for their particular problem and once you take care of it, they do not see you anymore,” says Vanlangdendonck. As a urologist, conditions are more chronic and patients see their doctors over time.
Vanlangdendonck has seen advances in robotic technology, medications to treat prostate enlargement and minimally invasive procedures that are used to treat benign and cancerous conditions. “There is robotic prostatectomy, advances in radiation therapy, multi-modal treatment of prostate cancer and targeted therapy, which attacks the tumor on a cellular level without major side effects to the patient,” says Vanlangdendonck. Overall outcomes are good for early stage disease with a 90 percent or better cure rate.
Vanlangdendonck enjoys spending time with his wife and two children when he is not at work. “We are all big Saints fans and go to games regularly, and my wife and I do triathlons and are doing an Ironman one in a couple weeks,” Vanlangdendonck says. He also likes hunting and fishing with his son and practices the healthy lifestyle that he preaches during his workday.
3434 Prytania St., Suite 450
New Orleans, La. 70115
Louisiana State University, New Orleans
Louisiana State University, Ochsner urology training program, New Orleans
Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
“Provide the best care but make sure that patients are educated about their disorder so they can make an informed decision.”