Jackson Man Opts for New Treatment for Prostate Cancer

James Kelly

December 06, 2022

James Kelly, of Jackson, New Jersey, had recently recovered from liver cancer surgery when his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) numbers signaled that he had prostate cancer. A family history of the disease convinced him to seek treatment. 

But when the oncologist he was seeing recommended the traditional nine weeks of radiation, James, a self-employed plumber, was reluctant to commit to such a rigorous treatment so soon after his other surgery.

His wife, Theresa, who works at Ocean University Medical Center, shared James’ concerns with her colleagues. Recommendations for radiation oncologist Prashant Desai, M.D., kept coming up. James saw Dr. Desai and was immediately impressed with the doctor’s knowledge and compassion, and delighted with the treatment plan he recommended.

A New Option to Treat Prostate Cancer

Treatment options for prostate cancer are based on the patient’s stage of disease and their age. At age 59, James’ diagnosis of favorable intermediate prostate cancer qualified him for radiation therapy. The nine-week, 45-dose treatment plan he previously had been offered was one option. But Dr. Desai offered a newer choice: stereotactic body radiotherapy surgery (SBRT), which would entail five higher-dose treatments done within a two-week period.

James chose the SBRT and began treatments December 1, 2021. While Dr. Desai suggests that patients plan for 45-minute appointments, James says his were “quick and easy” and lasted only about 20 minutes. Many patients tolerate the treatments so well that they leave the hospital and head straight to work. James chose to spread his treatments over two weeks and take time off work because his job as a plumber is physically challenging.

The outcomes of SBRT treatments are comparable to other treatment methods, but with less risk of side effects. “In evaluating any prostate treatment results, we follow the PSA, the most accurate way to monitor response to treatment and long-term status,” Dr. Desai says. 

While the PSA numbers for any man need to be evaluated by his doctor, lower numbers tend to be better. James recalls that when he began his treatment, his PSA was around 7; by the end, it was down to nearly 1, putting it in the normal range.

Dr. Desai says James is in remission and will have annual screenings to monitor that. James advises others diagnosed with prostate cancer to get the treatment. “Go for it!” he says.

Reducing Side Effects for Prostate Cancer Treatment 

Sometimes men are reluctant to get their prostate cancer treated because they have heard of side effects such as intestinal damage, incontinence and problems with sexual function. Dr. Desai recently added a new therapeutic tool, SpaceOAR Hydrogel, that substantially reduces these risks.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is a temporary implant that creates a small spacer pad between the prostate and rectum, preventing high-dose radiation from unintentionally damaging surrounding tissue. 

In an appointment before the SBRT therapy begins, the patient receives local or general anesthetics, and the doctor guides a needle with ultrasound imaging to insert fluid into the space. The fluid solidifies, separating the prostate and rectum by about 1–2 centimeters. The patient cannot feel the spacer, and it naturally dissolves in 3–6 months. 

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.  

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