William S. Maxfield, M.D., is a board-certified physician in hyperbaric medicine, radiology, and nuclear medicine. He is one of the nation’s foremost experts in hyperbaric medicine, pioneering its use to treat wounds, brain trauma, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. He has served on the faculties of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine, and LSU Medical School. He has also served as the chief of the Radioisotope Laboratory at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, M.D. Dr. Maxfield was chief of the Radiation Therapy Department and co-chairman of the Nuclear Medicine Laboratory at Ochsner Clinic and Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans. He is currently in private practice in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area.

Fighting Prostate Cancer and Its Spread

Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 10:03 AM

By Dr. William S. Maxfield

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In last week’s blog I discussed ways to diagnose prostate cancer accurately without subjecting men to the painful experience of repeated needle biopsies. In addition to better diagnostics, we are improving treatment of prostate cancer.
 
A technology that is being evaluated for approval in the U.S. is high-frequency ultrasound ablation. This technology is approved in Mexico, the Caribbean, England, and some European countries. Hopefully we will have approval for this utilization in the U.S. within the next year.
 
The advantage of high-frequency ultrasound ablation is that it is a noninvasive procedure done in an outpatient center. This technique takes only a couple of hours, and the patient does not have to be hospitalized.
 
The side effects are minimal, particularly when the localization for the treatment has been determined through MRI spectroscopy.
 
A dire complication of prostate cancer is the spread of the disease to the bones which is usually fatal. There have been techniques that were very effective in treating bone metastasis, not only from prostate cancer, but from other malignancies as well.
 
The technique that I helped develop was the use of testosterone plus radioactive phosphorus (P32). With the technology, about 80 percent of the patients had excellent clearing of their bone pain and some were 10-year survivors. The longest survivor was a prostate cancer patient who died 25 years later from cardiac problems.
 
Check the Internet for the story of General John Bruce Medaris. General Medaris became famous because he supervised the launch of the U.S.’s first space satellite. Not long after, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and developed bone metastasis. He was given less than six months to live by his urologist.
 
Fortunately, from contacts with people at NASA, he was referred to my brother’s clinic in Dallas, where he was treated with the radioactive phosphorus and testosterone.
 
General Medaris said that if he lived five years, he was going to become an Episcopal priest, which he did, and practiced for 17 years. As noted, he died of cardiac problems – not prostate cancer. It is unfortunate that the technology that was used for him with such success and on other patients with bone metastases has essentially been dropped from utilization in the United States.
 
The radioactive material used for therapeutic treatment of bony metastasis today is strontium 59 or samarium 153. From the data that I have reviewed, the longest survival for these medications is 18-20 months. Apparently, they were approved by the FDA in trials comparing them against a placebo, and not against our treatment of testosterone plus P32.
 
With the developing technologies of today, there is improved control of  prostate cancer.
 
 

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