Good for you.
Now, Dr. Russell, let me understand. When someone has radiation like this will they typically also sometimes have hormone shots as well? What's sort of the treatment plan? If you don't have surgery and you choose to have radiation is it just radiation alone or do some people need something more like hormones?
Well, frequently its just radiation alone. And the use of hormones is decided by a number of factors, but certainly one of the most important ones is where whether a person has a faster growing cancer or not, and under those circumstances hormones can assist the radiation and has been used routinely for that fashion. Other times we use hormones when a man's prostate is too big and we're worried about treating too much of things that are nearby, because the hormones will work very effectively to start killing the cancer right away and to shrink the prostate quite a bit to make the targeting better for what's around it.
Now, we talked about, you know, Mike said he called 30 different people and some had surgery and some has implanted radioactive seeds and some people had external beam radiation, and now he comes along with this approach that you have where the radiation externally can be targeted even more precisely we believe and we believe fewer side effects. How does someone have a dialogue with knowledgeable healthcare professionals to try to arrive at a treatment plan? How does that happen? How are you doing it at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to say, am I candidate for this?
Well, generally at the Alliance and at the University of Washington we favor a multidisciplinary approach where each of the specialists can provide the aspects of their treatment that is most appropriate for the individual patient and where we can all put our heads together and decide what seems like the best plan for a given person with their unique circumstances, which is to say their various risk factors, the aggressiveness of their disease, the other things that they have going on in them medically that can affect the decision, as well as some of the technical issues that are involved that can make either surgery or radiation more attractive, and lastly what's important to that individual in terms of quality of life issues, because all of these treatments have different side effects. All of them can affect people in ways that's important to have the patient's input and perspective on to help guide them to something that they're going to, that's not only going to be successful for them but that they're going to be happy with.