Providing personalized care and individualized treatment plans for patients

Providing personalized care and individualized treatment plans for patients

By Erik Torgerson, MD
Chief of Urology

Recently, I met with a patient who was diagnosed with localized prostate cancer at a local urology office. He came to Swedish seeking a second opinion for the treatment of his prostate cancer. In doing this, he explained to me that after the diagnosis of his prostate cancer, he was referred to a website to review the available options for the management of prostate cancer and was given very little guidance by the urologist who made the diagnosis. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario in situations where the diagnosing urologist may not have all of the available treatment options at his or her disposal. In discussing this with him afterwards, he felt that the urologist was only interested in making a diagnosis but had no concern over his treatment choice and he felt very confused.

The patient and I sat down together in a 45 minute consultation visit to discuss his diagnosis. As I do with all of my patients recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, we covered the diagnosis, the available treatment options, and the relative risks of each so that he could make an informed decision. I feel fortunate to practice in a place that offers state-of-the-art therapy for prostate cancer by multiple modalities. At Swedish, we have the busiest robotic surgical hospital on the West Coast with particular expertise in robotic surgery for prostate cancer. I practice in the hospital that pioneered radioactive seed implantation, led in the development of novel techniques to focus external beam therapy for prostate cancer in a way that minimizes radiation to the bladder and rectum with the development of the Calypso system. In addition, Swedish treats patients with cryosurgery and stereotactic Cyberknife in appropriate situations.

Following the diagnosis of prostate cancer, our patients are faced with a multitude of choices regarding treatment options. Coming to a medical center that offers each of these options affords patients the opportunity to make a decision which suits them individually. As a urologist in practice at Swedish, I feel confident that my patients will receive state-of-the-art therapy whatever their choice might be.

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