Monday Medical: Acclaimed prostate cancer expert to speak in Steamboat
August 26, 2012
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and Yampa Valley Medical Center is bringing a world-renowned speaker to Steamboat Springs to address this vital topic.
Dr. E. David Crawford is an internationally recognized prostate cancer expert. He has conducted numerous research studies, authored or co-authored more than 400 articles and published five textbooks. He currently chairs the National Prostate Cancer Education Council.
"Nobody in the world knows more about prostate cancer than Dave Crawford, who is located at the University of Colorado in Denver," Steamboat Springs urologist Dr. Stacy Childs said.
"It is his life's work. He has spoken in numerous countries, and his annual prostate cancer meeting in Vail draws an international crowd."
Childs has two connections to Crawford, who will speak here at a free public program Sept. 10. Childs served on Crawford's faculty as a clinical professor when he practiced in Cheyenne, Wyo. And Crawford was the surgeon Childs selected when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000.
"Dr. Crawford did my radical prostatectomy," Childs said. "Three years ago, my PSA score started coming back up, so I had radiation therapy for six weeks. Now my PSA is undetectable."
PSA stands for prostate specific antigen. Childs said the PSA test is the only way to detect prostate cancer in its earlier stages.
"The prostate can feel normal and the patient can feel normal, and he still can have cancer," Childs explained. "If a tumor is large enough to be felt, often it is too late.
"The PSA test saves lives," he said. "Before we had it, in the 1980s, we were losing 44,000 men per year who were dying of prostate cancer. That number has dropped by 35 percent."
Childs said each man's PSA is so individualized that the number is not as important as the trending throughout time. If a man's score begins to go up, it is cause for concern, more frequent testing and potentially a biopsy.
If a tumor is found, it is subjected to the Gleason scoring system, which determines how aggressive the cancer is.
"Not every man with prostate cancer needs radical treatment," Childs said. "A lower score and smaller tumor might require active surveillance. We would recommend PSA testing every three months and another biopsy in a year or two to see if the cancer is changing.
"Men who have a higher score have treatment options, and several of them can be done here at Yampa Valley Medical Center," he said. "The options include prostatectomy, external radiation, radioactive pellets or cryoablation. In some cases we can even do focal cryotherapy, which is called the male lumpectomy."
As a two-time prostate cancer survivor, Childs has a rare opportunity to speak as a physician and a patient. He gave a speech at one of Crawford's prostate cancer conferences, and he tells his patients about his experience.
Childs encourages men and women to attend the free Sept. 10 discussion by Crawford at 6 p.m. in YVMC's conference rooms.
"He is so much in demand, we'll never get him back here," Childs said. "This is the one and only chance to hear from this expert and ask questions."
Christine McKelvie is a writer/editor for Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.