The Prostate and Urologic Cancers Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital comprises a multispecialty team dedicated to managing the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of urologic cancer. Our patients benefit from the expertise of a collaborative approach to cancer care, which personalizes treatment options for tumors affecting the prostate, bladder, kidney, testes, upper tract (ureter and renal pelvis), penis, and urethra. We engage experts who specialize in medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, and diagnostic imaging.
Patients also have access to caregivers who can help with the physical, emotional, and psychological issues related to these cancers. The extended team includes health educators, social workers, dieticians, and complementary therapists. Our goal is to ensure the highest standard of care to support our patients and their families.
Our radiologists are experts in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and fluoroscopy, and combine their clinical expertise with advances in technology including MR-US fusion for prostate imaging, as well as positron emission tomography (PET) scans and advanced nuclear medicine scans. In addition, Blue Light™ Cystoscopy, an advanced endoscopic technology, is employed to improve bladder cancer detection and reduce risk of cancer recurrence.
Our experienced urologic surgeons are committed to achieving optimal cancer outcomes, emphasizing organ preservation and the safeguarding of sexual and urinary function as much as possible. Through advanced techniques including minimally invasive and robotic surgery, our urologists are able to optimize both cancer care and surgical recovery. Cryoablation (tumor freezing) may be a good option for some patients with prostate or kidney tumors. Focal therapy is also available for appropriate patients with prostate cancer, as it is able to treat the cancer without the use of radiation or surgery, preserving the prostate, as well as urinary and sexual function. Similarly, for some patients with cancers of the ureter or upper urinary tract, a laser can be used to treat the tumor and preserve kidney function.
Chemotherapy is an important component of cancer care for many patients, as it can delay or prevent tumors from recurring when used before surgery. It can also help patients with advanced or metastatic disease. As a major national oncology research center, Yale can provide patients with access to the newest options for medical oncology options available through clinical trials. Our researchers continue to search for combination therapies and targeted therapies to improve future outcomes. For some patients, there are treatment approaches that can help avoid the toxicities of conventional chemotherapy, and new immunotherapies are also becoming available for patients with recurring disease.
Our radiation oncologists continually evaluate new radiation technologies and conduct research to ensure that our patients receive the most cutting-edge treatment available. Such treatments include volumetric modulated arc therapy for prostate cancer, bladder-sparing treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer, and use of SpaceOAR, an injection that can protect other organs from the effects of radiation.
The genitourinary pathology team has extensive expertise in tissue-based diagnosis of diseases of the kidney, bladder, prostate, and testes, and utilizes state-of-the-art techniques and approaches to provide critical diagnostic and prognostic pathology reports.
Testicular cancer is a highly treatable disease—more than 97 percent of patients are cured. More than half of the testicular cancer cases in the United States affect young men between the ages of 15 and 34, who present with a new mass discovered upon self-exam or at an annual physical. Early diagnosis and treatment are directly related to cure rate, and our team members strive to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment plan are established quickly.
The Artemis device allows doctors to take biopsies in the same spot in the prostate as previous lesions, allowing them to better monitor the troublesome part of the gland. Smilow is the only program in Connecticut that offers a novel technique to perform targeted biopsies of the prostate using the Artemis device in combination with MRI. This technique has been shown to have a much higher cancer detection rate than standard biopsy.