Health

Huntington Hospital: New Treatment Prolongs Life in Prostate Cancer Patients

Huntington Hospital is among the first in Southern California to offer new drug to men with advanced prostate cancer.

From STAFF REPORTS
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013 | 11:48 AM

When Alan Logan was first told three years ago that he had a type of prostate cancer so aggressive and advanced that it wasn’t operable, he started discussing options with his physicians. Since that time he has had radiation and hormone therapy – and has been on morphine for pain, as needed. Due to the severity of his diagnosis, he knows his time is limited.

Earlier this year Logan’s physician told him about a promising new drug that was under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug, Xofigo, had shown to prolong survival and offer much-needed pain relief to patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Fortunately for Logan, the drug was approved by the FDA in May, more than three months ahead of schedule. The announcement was a glimpse of light for Logan and his physician, Kenneth Lam, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California.

“Dr. Lam told me about Xofigo, and we hoped it would be approved,” said Logan, 52, who has just completed his second treatment with the drug. “I know my prognosis, but this drug is allowing me to live with less pain and spend quality time with my family that is difficult to do when taking morphine. In the weeks before my first treatment, I had dropped forty pounds and was so weak. Upon receiving my first treatment, I could feel the sensation of the drug actually working on my bones. I felt relief almost immediately.”

Xofigo is the first drug of its kind to be approved by the FDA, and Huntington is one of the first hospitals in the Los Angeles area to make it available. A form of internal radiation, Xofigo is given through intravenous injection once a month for six months. It moves quickly through the blood and straight to the bone, where it is absorbed like calcium and specifically targets tumor cells located next to bone tissue. There are fewer major side effects, so the drug can even be used on older patients or patients with multiple medical conditions.

“This drug has shown to not only extend life, but it improves the quality of life for patients such as Alan in the final months of their prostate cancer battle,” said Dr. Lam. “Alan is an amazing person who, with the help of this new drug, continues to battle his disease with strength, courage and dignity.”

A resident of the San Fernando Valley, Logan knew about the cancer care program at Huntington Hospital long before the outset of his disease. That is because he has been working as a locksmith at the hospital for the past 11 years. One of his four children is employed by the hospital as well.

With 240,000 new cases diagnosed yearly, prostate cancer is among the most common cancers affecting men in the United States. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in U.S. men, with an estimated 30,000 deaths due to prostate cancer expected to occur in 2013 alone. The Prostate Cancer Program at Huntington Hospital provides advanced screening, diagnostic, surgical and radiation oncology services to individuals with prostate cancer. It is part of the hospital’s Cancer Center that delivers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities and leading-edge treatment options as well as care coordination and emotional support services to patients with a cancer diagnosis.

“Dr. Lam has been on the forefront of prostate cancer treatment for many years,” said Paula Verrette, M.D., senior vice president of quality and physician services at Huntington Hospital. “He is dedicated to ensuring that our patients receive the highest level of care available.”

Huntington Memorial Hospital is a 625-bed not-for-profit hospital located in Pasadena, California. Huntington Hospital has been ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report in two specialties and was named among the top hospitals in California. Renowned for its programs in neurosciences, cardiovascular services and cancer care, Huntington Hospital is an active teaching hospital with graduate medical education programs in internal medicine and general surgery. Consistent with its mission the hospital provides millions of dollars annually in charity care, benefits for vulnerable populations, health research, education and training, and support programs that may otherwise be absent from the community. For more information, visit www.huntingtonhospital.com.

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