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CKHS Offers Radiation Therapy Choices in the Fight against Prostate Cancer

In Brief

  • Crozer-Keystone Health System offers a full range of radiation therapies — and the skilled clinicians who know how to wield them — for prostate cancer patients.
  • Among these therapies are intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), internal radiation seed implants (brachytherapy) and robotic radiosurgery (CyberKnife).
  • Factors such as disease stage, age, lifestyle and simple personal preference play the most important role in selecting the appropriate prostate cancer treatment.

According to the American Cancer Society, about one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Fortunately, there are more options than ever for treating the second most common cancer among men. At Crozer-Keystone Health System, a full range of therapies — and the skilled clinicians who know how to wield them — are available to prostate cancer patients.

“Radiation therapy is being divided up into specialty areas like most other branches in medicine,” says Stephen Arrigo, M.D., who sees prostate cancer patients at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “You want to work with a specialist who is keeping up with all of the research.”

“Within radiation therapies alone, there are multiple ways of treating prostate cancer,” says Rachelle Lanciano, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “When a patient is diagnosed and referred to us, we run through all of the types of radiation we have available and discuss what might be the best choice for him.”

The health system’s multidisciplinary approach means that its cancer centers connect urologists, radiologists, medical oncologists and other specialists under one roof. “We have a full complement of choices on both the surgical and radiation sides. Patients are followed by both groups and the cooperation between them here is quite good,” says William Powlis, M.D., chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology at Crozer.

Among the radiation treatments that Crozer-Keystone Health System offers is intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a well-proven form of external radiation using software that sculpts doses to target tumors with laser accuracy. Crozer was the first community hospital in the region to offer it. IMRT requires multiple visits, but it can treat difficult-to-reach tumors with high doses of radiation while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.

CKHS also offers two kinds of internal radiation seed implants, or brachytherapy, to patients: permanent and temporary. In both cases, these small seeds are deposited inside a tumor, allowing for a maximum dose of radiation to pinpoint the affected area. Brachytherapy requires fewer visits to the hospital, and Crozer-Keystone is distinguished by its ability to offer both forms of this specialized form of radiation, which is not available in most outpatient centers.

As the health system’s resident expert in brachytherapy, Arrigo presents patients with the latest research on these methods. “I deliver recommendations based on research outcomes and patient priorities. My approach is to help patients figure this out individually rather than giving every patient a generic choice,” Arrigo says. “If a patient does not know their odds for beating the disease, then they are not fully informed. 

Another emerging option for patients is robotic radiosurgery, and the affiliated Philadelphia CyberKnife center in Havertown is one of the most experienced and busiest CyberKnife centers in the country. “CyberKnife is a way of focusing higher doses of radiation to a small area of the body,” says John Lamond, M.D., radiation oncologist at Crozer and associate medical director of Philadelphia CyberKnife. “Early results from our experience at our centers for prostate cancer have been promising.” One of the advantages of CyberKnife is that it requires only a handful of treatment visits. 

Ultimately, factors like disease stage, age, lifestyle and simple personal preference play the most important role in selecting the appropriate prostate cancer treatment, and Crozer-Keystone’s specialists can help patients sort through these factors. “One of the great things about our health system is that we are able to specifically customize our treatments to a patient’s diagnosis and needs,” Lamond says.

In addition to the now-standard cutting-edge treatments for prostate cancer, Crozer-Keystone also offers patients access to clinical trials with more innovative methods ― an attractive option for people with more aggressive cancers.

“There are certainly many more options for prostate cancer than there used to be,” Lanciano says. “As the technology has advanced we have been able to offer more and more therapies to choose from. As a patient, you can only benefit from having more choices.”

Call 1-866-695-HOPE (1-866-695-4673) or visit to schedule a prompt appointment with a Crozer-Keystone specialist who treats cancer patients.

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