Patients with genitourinary (GU) cancers are seen at the Radiation Oncology Clinic at Simmons by direct referral or in conjunction with the multi-disciplinary urological oncology program at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Special programs exist for treatment of both common and uncommon GU malignancies. The most common, prostate cancer, is coordinated through a multidisciplinary team comparing the options of observation, surgery, and a variety of radiation therapy strategies.
The Center has considerable experience with these procedures:
- 3-D conformal radiotherapy
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Prostate seed brachytherapy implants
- Combinations of these therapies
A similar approach is used for other GU cancers including bladder cancer, urethral cancer, ureteral cancer, and kidney cancer (hypernephroma). A special GU cancer problem, testicular or testis cancer, affects a much younger population and with proper treatment has a high chance of cure even with extensive metastases. The approach at UT Southwestern is comprehensive for testis cancer, drawing on our large experience to find a cure and avoid long-term side effects.
Ongoing research is helping our department develop new treatments for GU cancers. Basic science research at UT Southwestern in animal models has shown that large dose per fraction radiation delivery may be both feasible and more effective. With this information we are embarking on new strategies to use highly focused stereotactic body radiation therapy for treating organ-confined prostate cancer.
We also are designing trials to address problems with recurrence after prostatectomy, as well as investigating methods to make treatments less toxic and more convenient. Faculty members participate in cooperative group trials such as the RTOG and CALGB to offer patients the most modern therapies.