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Mayo researcher speaks to local group

Mayo researcher speaks to local group

Mayo researcher speaks to local group

Dr. David A. Woodrum


Man 2 Man, a local support group for men with prostate cancer, got a special visit Friday from an expert at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. David A. Woodrum is a radiologist who specializes in abdominal imaging at Mayo in Rochester, Minn. He also is a native of Statesboro who graduated from Statesboro High School, Georgia Southern University and the Medical College of Georgia.

He took time out from his vacation back home in Bulloch County to speak to Man 2 Man, a support group organized by the American Cancer Society, during a breakfast meeting at RJ's Steakery.

He spoke for about 45 minutes on how several forms of cancer can be treated, though he focused his talk on the treatment of prostate cancer — particularly if it's caught early. The most common kind of surgery is to remove the prostate, but Woodrum described a procedure in which the tumor is "frozen."

There isn't much space — a matter of 1-4 millimeters — between the prostate and two important excretory parts, the urethra and rectum.

"The bottom line is, we've got this tumor, and we need to stay away from the urethra, we need to stay away from the rectum," he said, pointing to a magnetic resonance image showing a prostate tumor. "We can stick needles in and create an ice ball in there and if you'll notice, this urethra, we're saving a millimeter of tissue around this urethra. That's the warming catheter. So as we're creating this intense cold, by using this warming catheter, we can shape the ice to conform to what we need in order to treat the tumor."

The MRI allows the surgical team to view the ice ball's progress in real time.

"It gives me that added assurety that I've covered the tumor and that what I'm going after, I'm actually hitting," Woodrum said. "Afterwards, we can give contrasts, double-check that, yes, we've eliminated the tumor."

Woodrum was part of a team that recently published the results of a study following 18 patients who were treated for prostate cancer. They were divided into two groups: one group of nine had standard cryoablation, and the second had a more aggressive form of that freezing treatment.

The first group saw a relatively higher recurrence of prostate cancer, while the second group saw almost no recurrence within 15 months of the treatment - though some of those patients did have more side-effect problems such as incontinence.

"As you might imagine, we were excited by this because we're going in to kill the cancer, and we were able to achieve that," Woodrum said, referring to the low recurrence of cancer in the more-aggressively treated group of patients. "I cage that. This is still 12-15 months. When we get to the three- and five-year data, and it's still looking this good, that's when I'm really going to be jumping up and down."

Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.

 

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