Chicago Prostate Cancer Center (CPCC) values education about prostate cancer, not only to improve patients’ understanding of the disease and its treatment options, but to expand technical knowledge of visiting physicians and provide opportunities for students.
CPCC works hand-in-hand with Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago (PCFC) on research and education that advances best practices in low dose-rate brachytherapy—or seed implant— an effective, convenient option that allows men to remain active during prostate cancer treatment.
We are grateful to student intern, Eric Bernstein, a Johns Hopkins undergraduate who is volunteering with PCFC for his second summer. Eric has observed brachytherapy and cryotherapy procedures and assists with research data entry. He is co-authoring a research abstract that will look at how many times prostate cancer was initially identified in individuals screened at our annual Prostate Cancer Screening Event.
Read Eric’s blog:
Since the beginning of the summer, I’ve been working at CPCC doing data entry tasks for the research side of the operation. I’ve seen countless PSA reports and physics charts and satisfaction surveys. But, as an undergraduate student considering medical school in the future, I’ve also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Moran and his team in the operating room. That has proven to be one of the most educational and interesting experiences that I have had.
Although Dr. Moran only does a few different procedures here, they are, from a technological standpoint, very complicated. The course of the treatment uses several kinds of advanced imaging techniques as well as computer modeling and radiation. It begins with an ultrasound imaging of the prostate to get a rough estimate of the size and shape of the gland. A computer algorithm is then used to design the radioactive seed implant plan. Then, during the implant, a general anesthesia is used to put the patient to sleep, and the ultrasound is used again to visualize the prostate as Dr. Moran drops the seeds into place. Finally, a CT scan is performed to ensure that all the seeds are in the right place and that the correct amount of radiation was implanted.
It seems like this procedure could be overwhelming to somebody who hasn’t had a second of medical education yet, but I actually relish the opportunity. Having all these things involved in the process means I’ve gotten to learn about how all of these things work and some of the ways they can be used. I’ve learned about the internal structure of the ultrasound probe and the physiology of sevoflurane, and more about the prostate than I ever thought I wanted to know. I know that experience will come in handy in medical school.
The most valuable experience, however, comes from Dr. Moran and his team. The most important thing for a doctor and his or her team is how they interact with their patients. Dr. Moran has an exemplary bedside manner and his patients always seem at ease going into the OR. The nursing staff is kind and attentive, as well as knowledgeable about the procedures. I believe that most people who decide to go into health professions do so because they want to help people. Dr. Moran has reaffirmed that belief for me. He has provided me with an example of how to behave around patients. That is experience that I will take with me no matter what my future holds.