More surgical procedures to treat early-stage prostate cancer are being performed in the British Virgin Islands.
Local private hospital, Bougainvillea Clinic, recently conducted five additional brachytherapy operations.
Brachytherapy describes a procedure whereby radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate gland.
The five new brachytherapy operations recently done comes more than a year after the same hospital performed the procedure for the first in the BVI.
These latest operations were successfully done by an international medical team, Bouganvillea said.
“The actual procedure lasted between 60 to 90 minutes and the patients were all discharged home a few hours after completion … Patients continue to express satisfaction with the fact that this service could be performed here in BVI, despite the fact that there was a little hiccough, causing 24-hour delay in the schedule as the team from overseas arrived on schedule but without their luggage and some of the equipment and supplies needed to carry out the procedures,” the private hospital said in a media release this week.
Below is Bouganvilla Clinic’s full release on the procedures.
Bougainvillea Clinic, a private hospital in Road Town, Tortola, continues to raise the standard of health care here in the BVI. We wish to inform the public that we recently successfully carried out Radiation seed implant to treat early prostate cancer in five men with early prostate cancer, four of whom were resident on BVI and one came in as a medical tourist from overseas.
Here in BVI, like in the rest of the Caribbean, Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men of all races, particular among men of African descent.
Fortunately, most prostate cancers are relatively slow growing, and when detected early there is a process of evaluation to determine which of the several possible treatments is most appropriate for the individual patient.
It is best to have the cancer detected early. An elevated PSA blood test or a lump or irregularity felt on yearly digital rectal exam (performed by a trained/qualified doctor) raises clinical suspicion of early prostate cancer.
Prostate biopsy is then done and the specimen examined under the microscopy by the pathologist. Any prostate cancer cells detected are given a grading by the Gleason Score one to 10, with a score of 10 indicating the most aggressive form of this cancer.
A score of less than 5 indicates that the cancer is not very aggressive and sometimes it is possible to simply watch this relatively low grade cancer for years before treatment may become necessary.
When it is decided that treatment is necessary, the Urologist (prostate surgeon) will advise the patient on which of the forms of treatment is most appropriate – 1. Surgery to remove the entire prostate (Radical Prostatectomy) – 2. Implantation of radioactive seeds into the prostate to kill the prostate cells (Brach therapy) – 3.
External Beam Radiation therapy with a machine that sends radiation beams through the pelvis of the man, focused on the prostate gland itself. In addition there is hormonal therapy may be given to suppress spread/growth but not cure prostate cancer.
The first time that this procedure of Radioactive Seed Implantation (known as Brachytherapy) was done in BVI was that on January 6, 2017, at our hospital, when a team of doctors and support personnel led by Dr Dwayne Thwaites (Board certified Urologist) successfully carried out the procedure on three patients, who continue to do well .
After all of the preliminaries to set up, the actual procedure lasted between 60-90 mins and the patients were all discharged home a few hours after completion of the implantation.
Patients continue to express satisfaction with the fact that this service could be performed here in BVI, despite the fact that there was a little hiccough, causing 24 hrs delay in the schedule as the team from overseas arrived on schedule but without their luggage and some of the equipment and supplies needed to carry out the procedures.
It was Dr Thwaites, of the Bougainvillea Clinic who again arranged for a team of radiation therapy specialists from 21 st Century Oncology Inc, of Florida, USA to come to BVI to perform this complex treatment here at our clinic. This team was again led by Dr Christopher Chen MD, Radiation Oncologist, supported by a radiation physicist, a radiation therapist and administrative personnel.
General anaesthesia was given by Dr Craig Stoutt, thus ensuring that the patients felt no pain during the procedure. In addition, we wish to acknowledge the involvement of several nurses and other support staff of the Bougainvillea Clinic.
Fortunately, most prostate cancers are relatively slow growing. Most of these cancers are diagnosed in men in their 60s, with a significant percentage of blacks diagnosed in their 40s and 50s, when the prostate cancers also tend to be more aggressive.
Not all patients with prostate cancer need active treatment. Persons diagnosed over the age of say 80 are often more likely to die of other conditions than from prostate cancer and may not need treatment.
Only two forms of treatment can cure cancer of the prostate; 1) Surgery for complete removal of the cancerous gland when cancer is confined to the gland two) radiation therapy which kills cancer cells (a. Brachytherapy or b. external beam radiation).
Both radical prostatectomy ( open method) and Brachytherapy are now available here in BVI ant the Bougainvillea Clinic. Persons with more advanced forms of cancer will continue to need treatment overseas by external beam radiation therapy.
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