Presentation at 4Men Prostate Cancer Support Group
Avow, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105
Construction is well underway for the new 10,000-sq.-ft., single-room proton therapy gantry and cyclotron. We are making excellent progress and anticipate the construction to be completed next year. The expansion will increase patient capacity by approximately 25 percent, allowing us to bring the benefits of proton therapy to more people.
Here are some fun facts about the construction:
We will continue to provide updates as the project moves forward. In the meantime, check out this time-lapse video, taken by the construction crew, of the development so far.
Dr. Roi Dagan is director of the head and neck program at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Watch this video to learn about cancers that occur in the head and neck and how proton therapy can provide excellent treatment while reducing the impact on surrounding healthy organs.
“The pediatric program is nothing short of a miracle for the young children being treated,” said Leon. “The pleasant and comforting personalities of the nurses, technicians and doctors are heartwarming and supportive.”
Leon’s generous gift was made possible by his service with the Sarasota Civilian Volunteer Police. Leon and his Civilian Volunteer Police partner, Demetri Lignos, received the Noah Williams Humanitarian Award for their lifesaving efforts after they discovered a homeless man who was sick and unable to move, lying in the sun alone and unattended for a week following a heart attack. In addition to the award, the Williams family presented Leon with a $1,000 check to be donated to the cause of his choice. He knew immediately that he wanted to use the opportunity to give back to UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.
The Institute’s For the Children Fund was created with the mission to provide children with the opportunity to enjoy life, despite their cancer diagnosis. Charitable gifts like Leon’s fund activities, like Family Fun Night, and support two artists-in-residence who guide patients as they create weekly art projects. They also help provide a Child Life Specialist, who uses medical play, preparation and education to promote understanding and help reduce anxiety in pediatric cancer patients.
For Leon, the impact these services had on pediatric patients and their families was undeniable.
“So much thought and care is given to the method of treatments to alleviate fear, pain and discomfort,” said Leon. “I was brought to tears as I observed these young people playing and enjoying their activities while undergoing major treatments. The children showed great strength and enjoyment in all of the attention and care they received.”
What kind of impact can a donor make at our proton therapy center? We see it in the eyes of our pediatric patients who are delighted to return day after day to the newly renovated Jane and Mike McLain Pediatric Recovery Room. We see it in the faces of our patients and caregivers who gather around the art table and concentrate on an art project for a while, not cancer. We see it in the dedication of our clinical research team who document and analyze patient outcomes and publish results. These are a few examples of how the generous philanthropic support of many makes high-quality, compassionate and cutting-edge medicine possible. It is truly an honor to receive these gifts and to see the impact in patient care every day.
Stuart L. Klein
Men age 60 and younger treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute report excellent long-term outcomes related to cure rate and health-related quality of life.
A long-term, prospective clinical study followed 254 low-, intermediate-, and high-risk prostate cancer patients for seven years. Outcomes for cancer recurrence were charted as well as incidence of side effects impacting sexual, urinary and bowel health. Results from the study were published last month in Acta Oncologica.
Median follow-up was 7.1 years and 97.8 percent of men had no evidence of cancer. Cancer-free survival was 99.2 percent and 97.7 percent for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer patients respectively.
Potency (erections firm enough for sexual intercourse) was 90 percent at baseline and declined to 72 percent at the first-year follow-up, but declined to only 67 percent at five years. Only two percent of patients developed urinary incontinence requiring pads. The bowel habits mean score declined from a baseline of 96 to 88 at one year, which improved over the following years to 93 at five years.
Men who are 60 years old or younger when diagnosed with prostate cancer have a life expectancy of more than 10 years. The treatment decision – most often surgery or radiation – can significantly impact quality of life depending on the risk of side effects.
“Since similar local control and overall survival have been observed for surgery and radiation, health-related quality of life has emerged as an increasing focus in men considering their treatment options. Several investigations have reported fear of incontinence was a decision-making factor in men, while a more recent study reported that younger men placed more importance on sexual function when choosing treatment options,” said Bradford S. Hoppe, MD, MPH, James E. Lockwood, Jr., Endowed Chair of Proton Therapy at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. “Our study provides meaningful information for clinicians and patients to consider when evaluating treatment options that may minimize the risk of erectile dysfunction.”
The University of Florida Health Cancer Center, including the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, has once again been recognized as a Cancer Center of Excellence by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Health.
The UF Health Cancer Center is one of four centers in the state to receive this designation. The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute is the only Cancer Center of Excellence in Jacksonville that treats patients with proton therapy – an advanced form of radiation therapy.
“More than an honor, the Cancer Center of Excellence designation is an important assurance for patients and their families seeking the best possible cancer treatment,” said Stuart Klein, the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute executive director. “Each of our 165 staff members is committed to serving patients with high-quality, compassionate care every day.”
The Cancer Center of Excellence designation was created by the Florida Legislature in 2013 to recognize exemplary patient-centered coordinated care and to help Florida providers be recognized nationally as a preferred destination for quality cancer care — while simultaneously attracting and retaining the best cancer providers in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health website.
The three-year designation is awarded to hospitals and treatment centers that meet strict performance standards in three areas: health care organization, health care team members, and patients and family members. Scores are based on rating standards created by a joint committee of members from the Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council and the Biomedical Research Advisory Council, two advisory groups mandated by the Florida Legislature.
Receiving this designation once again is a testament to the UF Health Cancer Center’s dedication to innovative and collaborative patient-centered care, said Jonathan Licht, MD, the director of the UF Health Cancer Center.
“We continue to strive toward excellence in our mission to save lives and to provide the highest level of care across the cancer spectrum,” said Licht.
Researchers, physicians, scientists and patient advocates convened at a workshop on Amelia Island, Fla., to discuss and plan implementation of the national prostate cancer study recently funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes and Research Institute (PCORI). The study, A Prospective Comparative Study of Outcomes with Proton and Photon Radiation in Prostate Cancer (COMPPARE), aims to accrue 3,000 men, 1,500 treated with proton therapy and 1,500 treated with conventional photon (X-ray) radiation.
The meeting established best practices for treatment and patient safety, data gathering protocols, and patient recruitment including an ethnically diverse population. The clinical trial will begin accruing patients from 42 participating clinical settings across the country within the next 12 months.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men, and African-American men are at greater risk of diagnosis and death from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Raising awareness of the risk is one way to encourage screening and early detection and to potentially improve patient outcomes. Once diagnosed, understanding the treatment options available, the cure rates and potential for side effects, is an important part of the treatment decision-making process.
The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute recently held an information session and tour of the facility for the Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a black fraternity chapter in Jacksonville. Nancy Mendenhall, MD, medical director, led the tour and presented an overview of the prostate cancer treatment program. She described the new national prostate cancer clinical trial, led by the Institute, to compare conventional radiation and proton therapy. The study aims to include a diverse population, including African-Americans, to accurately document treatment outcomes.
Proton therapy’s impact on African-American prostate cancer patients has been an area of interest for the research program for many years. A study published last year by the Institute in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology1 suggests that African-American and white patients had similarly excellent results following proton therapy for prostate cancer. There was no difference detected between the two groups in their cure rates or in their sexual, urinary or bowel function following proton therapy.
1Bryant, Curtis et al. “Does Race Influence Health-Related Quality of Life and Toxicity Following Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer?” American Journal of Clinical Oncology. 39.3 (2016): 261–265. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.
The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute has named the pediatric recovery room in honor of philanthropists Jane and Mike McLain to acknowledge their support of the pediatric program. The McLains’ $200,000 gift will fund clinical research and the many support services designed to ease the treatment process for patients.
The Jane and Mike McLain Pediatric Recovery Room is an essential area of the clinic where children under the age of 5 are prepared for and recover from daily proton therapy. Staffed by full-time pediatric oncology nurses and pediatric anesthesiologists, the room is equipped with child-sized furniture and other medical devices designed specifically for children.
Proton therapy is a cancer treatment that delivers radiation precisely to the treatment area with minimal or no radiation to normal, healthy tissue. For optimal results in proton therapy, it is necessary for the patient to lie in exactly the same position without moving during treatment each day to ensure the proton beam is focused on the targeted treatment area. Most patients over the age of 5 who receive daily proton therapy do not require sedation. However, the youngest patients – infants and those under the age of 5 – are often unable to remain completely still during the 30- to 45-minute daily treatment. For them, sedation is necessary for accuracy and safety.
“We are very grateful for this generous and compassionate gift from Jane and Mike McLain,” said Nancy Mendenhall, MD, medical director of the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. “The value of their contribution to the comfort of our youngest patients and their families is beyond measure. And the research their gift enables will impact generations to come.”
The Jane and Mike McLain Pediatric Recovery Room was recently renovated to provide additional privacy for patients and families and a décor designed to promote healing.
“The soft lighting and soothing color palette and design has transformed the space that was formerly sterile and clinical into a tranquil area that is child friendly, welcoming and calming,” said Amy Sapp, director of pediatric nursing. “The space has a positive impact on both the medical and psychosocial well-being of the children and their families by decreasing anxiety and stress related to the various medical procedures encountered on a daily basis as well as providing an area for play and distraction.”
The comprehensive renovation was made possible through the generous support of many donors who are recognized on a newly unveiled sign in the recovery room. “Thanks to all who contributed in large and small ways through the UFHPTI For the Children Fund. And thanks to our volunteers, many of whom are alumni patients, who have championed this fundraising effort,” said Stuart Klein, executive director.
This month I had the opportunity to travel to China to participate in two lectures and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to help bring pediatric patients from China to Jacksonville for proton therapy (more on the MOU below). In addition, I was invited to a dinner hosted by a Chinese family whose teenage son we treated last year. Their son, YS, has had a very difficult road. He was initially diagnosed at three years old with leukemia. He was successfully treated with chemotherapy but subsequently relapsed. He was treated again with chemotherapy and all seemed to be going well until he was diagnosed with a base of skull Ewing sarcoma. At this point he was 17 years old and required radiation treatment. YS and his mother traveled to Jacksonville to receive his proton treatment. YS was clearly not happy with having to go through treatment. He was understandably depressed and withdrawn, but managed to come out of his shell towards the end of his treatment course.
At last week’s dinner I had the opportunity to spend time with YS and his extraordinary family. Although their English was very limited, they were able to convey their thanks and appreciation for the treatment YS received at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. YS was outgoing, engaged and looking forward to applying for college. He had zero indications that he was treated with protons. This was clearly a family who had gone through great angst and trauma. They now had the opportunity to relax and once again function as a family unit by thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. It was truly inspirational to observe the impact that we had on a family that lives 8,000 miles away. Despite our language, cultural and political differences we were able to help mend and heal this family. It was a privilege and honor to observe our impact first hand.
Stuart L. Klein
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Presentation at 4Men Prostate Cancer Support Group
Avow, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105
Active After 50 Expo for Baby Boomers & Seniors – St. Augustine
St. Augustine Outlets’ Indoor Mall, 500 Outlet Mall Blvd, St. Augustine, FL
Prostate Cancer ABCs Patient & Caregiver Conference
The Brownwood Hotel & Spa, 3003 Brownwood Blvd, The Villages, FL 32163
Free Registration Required at https://March21Conf.eventbrite.com
Cancer Resource Navigation Event
UF Health Jacksonville, LRC Building, 655 West 8th Street, Jacksonville, FL
Active After 50 Expo for Baby Boomers & Seniors – Ponte Vedra Beach
Ponte Vedra High School, 460 Davis Park Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081
The Precision Newsletter is an electronic-only publication that is distributed by email. Each issue is sent monthly to patients, alumni patients and friends of the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. As the official newsletter of the Institute, the content is compiled and prepared by our communications representative and approved by the editor Stuart Klein, executive director of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Special bulletin newsletters may occasionally be prepared when timely topics and new developments in proton therapy occur. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor, please click here.
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