Laurel Man Now Cancer-Free Following Prostate Seed Implants
Summary: Minimally invasive procedure eliminates common troublesome side effects of traditional
prostate cancer treatment
On a routine physical exam in 1997, Ed Grimes had a PSA (prostate specific
antigen) test, and was told by his doctor that he had a higher-than-normal reading.
To be on the safe side, his doctor referred him to a urologist (Dr. Robert Gessler,
Laurel, MD), who suggested that they monitor it for a year and then re-test.
When Grimes returned for a follow-up exam, it was found that his PSA reading
had risen again, this time to 6.9. A biopsy was done that confirmed that he
had early stage prostate cancer. Dr. Gessler recommended that his patient come
to the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC)
for a minimally invasive treatment known as prostate
seed implants, or prostate
Prostate seed implants are the fastest growing treatment for prostate cancer
in the U.S. today, and UMGCC is among the leaders in providing the technique.
Dr. Pradip Amin,
associate professor of Radiation Oncology at the University or Maryland School
of Medicine, has performed over 2,000 of the procedures since 1988, more than
the number performed at any other center in the region.
Prostate brachytherapy is a minor surgical procedure in which tiny radioactive
seeds are inserted directly into the prostate gland to target the cancer cells
while sparing healthy tissue. The procedure involves only a brief hospital stay
and has been shown to have fewer side effects than other treatment methods.
Ed Grimes is delighted that his urologist recommended the treatment, which he
found to be virtually painless.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. They gave me an
epidural, and I was wide awake for most of the procedure. Dr. Amin and Dr.
Jacobs (Stephen C. Jacobs, M.D., professor of Surgery at the University
of Maryland School of Medicine) worked together to do the procedure. I believe
they implanted a total of 76 seeds. I stayed at the hospital overnight, so that
they could monitor me and do a scan the next day to make sure all of the seeds
were positioned correctly. I went home that day and feeling fine -- just some
minor bruising in my groin area and a little soreness. I was only given a few
restrictions on my activity -- not riding a bike or holding any babies on my
lap for a few weeks. And I was told to have a checkup every six months to monitor
my PSA level,” Grimes said.
The results were dramatic. Following his prostate seed implants, Grimes’
PSA reading went down to 0.4, well below the normal range. A former environmental
manager for a telephone utility, the active 74-year-old Grimes is an avid wildlife
photographer, and has devoted himself to a second career since retirement as
a volunteer in environmental conservation, first with the Smithsonian Environmental
Research Center, and currently at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel,
MD, where he works with captive whooping cranes.
“The decision to have prostate seed implants was the best thing I could
have done,” he says. “I’m cancer-free, and I feel lucky that
the treatment worked so well for me, and without side effects. I’ve talked
to lots of other guys who have had different types of treatment for their prostate
cancer – including surgery, hormone therapy,and radiation – and
they haven’t always been as happy with their results,” says Grimes.
For more information on prostate seed implants or other treatments for prostate
cancer at the Univeristy of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center,
please contact the Department of Radiation Oncology at 1-800-888-8823.