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1 in 8 Men will be Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer During Their Lifetime

1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
UCA’s Van Scott Cancer Center is on the frontlines of the fight.

The Urology Centers of Alabama has revolutionized cancer treatment by creating the comprehensive Van Scott Cancer Center. This facility utilizes a team of experts – urologists, medical and radiation oncologists, and pathologists – all under one roof. When a patient receives a diagnosis of prostate cancer, the team works together to determine the best path forward. UCA uses the most advanced technologies available, including invasive robotic surgery, endoscopic and laser surgeries, and radioactive seed implantation, so patients facing prostate cancer can rest assured they’re getting the best care possible.

A discussion with Urologist Dr. Michael Bivins reveals what makes the Van Scott Cancer Center one of the southeast’s most revered facilities.

“I was sitting in a meeting about 2012, and I just had an a-ha moment…. what if we develop a clinic that can centralize our approach to care, as opposed to 30 doctors just practicing in their own fashion… that’s how we came up with our centralized clinic,”  said Dr. Bivins. “Our approach is to think about each individual patient and provide treatment options based on science and evidence…Some people need mental or spiritual assistance, while others need physical and dietary support. No two patients are alike. Our goal is to make the cancer center fully comprehensive, and not just a place to get a pill, shot or surgery.”

Early Detection is Key

At first, the urologists were seeing the worst-case scenario patients, but UCA quickly evolved their plan to start diagnosing and treating patients earlier in the disease stage in order to maximize the chances of successful treatment.

According to Dr. Bivins, “We started seeing improvements in our patients because you can start working them back to earlier stages. That’s when we realized our approach is to start looking for patients in the early triggers of the disease. We have a team of Prostate Cancer Champions  – PAs and nurse navigators – who search out for these early advanced patients.”

 “Getting to where we are today required a lot of staff support as well as primary care physician education through our annual CME program,” Dr. Bivins explains, “Our team takes pride in what they do, and delivers a better solution to our patients because of it.”

The Tumor Board

Every month, the entire team of specialists at the Van Scott Cancer Center holds a clinical meeting called “The Tumor Board.” It’s where urologists, radiation and medical oncologists, the pathologist, and the research department gather to talk about patients and clinical cases. This gives communal access to clinical trial results so the physicians can learn about the most up-to-date treatment options.

Employing a team of researchers on-site plays an integral role in the field of urology, and having them included in the Tumor Board benefits everybody. Dr. Bivins explains, “We may have a patient that would typically receive drug X, however, we may learn that maybe drug X is not the best option for that particular patient based on data-driven research. With the research department at the table, we’re able to engage and see what research projects are out there and available to our patients.”

More Than 14,000 Robotic Surgeries Performed and Counting

The physicians at The Van Scott Cancer Center have a very robust surgical arm in the field of prostate cancer and beyond including kidney, bladder, and testicular surgeries as well. “Robotic technology is an immense leap forward. We’re able to operate in the pelvis, and see in high definition or 3D,” Dr. Bivins praises. “We’re able to put robotic arms in places that are humanly impossible. It helps the patient recover a lot better at the end.”

Van Scott Cancer Center Offers In-House Dispensary

At the Van Scott Cancer Center, patients have access to an in-house dispensary for their prescriptions.  Bringing this in-house allows the facility to negotiate pricing with the pharmaceutical companies to get better pricing for their patients.

the physicians and the nurse navigator are also able to monitor patients more closely and make sure they are taking their medication. They then follow-up to ensure medications are being refilled at the appropriate times to maximize the effectiveness of treatment.

Focus On The Patient, Not Just the Disease

Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be devastating. That’s why The Van Scott Cancer Center takes a holistic mind, body, and spirit approach for each individual patient, rather than just focusing on treating the disease.

The Van Scott Cancer Center utilizes a mentoring program where patients have the ability to talk to people who have previously been diagnosed with cancer and undergone treatment. They also offer a similar program for patients’ spouses to ensure they are also receiving guidance so they can better support their husbands. 

Patients also have access to a minister for spiritual counseling as well as dietitians and physical therapists to work on their physical health.

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