Curing Prostate Cancer is a Team Approach at St. Mary’s

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Sponsored - Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men outside of skin cancer. In the United States, statistics show one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This statistic hit home for Grand Junction resident, John Lanci. When he was in his 60′s he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“I’ve had both prostate cancer and bladder cancer and they came to me later in life. I was 66 when I was diagnosed. I didn’t see it as the beginning of a battle, I saw it as a new aspect of my life journey,” explains Lanci.

According to Michael Zhou, MD, a radiation oncologist at St. Mary’s Cancer Centers of Colorado, men who are over the age of 50 should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their primary care doctor. For African- American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer, Zhou explains screenings are typically recommended as early as 40.

“Screenings for prostate cancer include a simple blood test called a PSA, a prostate specific antigen, in combination with a digital rectal exam of the prostate,” explains Kyle Work, DO medical oncologist, St. Mary’s.

Thankfully for Lanci, his cancer was caught before it metastasized. “My prostate cancer was caught early, and it turned out to be a very aggressive cancer, which if I had not had my prostate removed, probably would have killed me within a year or two.”

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society one in 41 men will die from prostate cancer in the United States, that’s one statistic Lanci is delighted to not be a part of.

“Patients are surviving prostate cancer more frequently these days. We have better treatments, including surgery, radiation, and different medications to treat prostate cancer. And of course, earlier detection helps to improve that outcome as well,” says Work.

According to Zhou and Work, symptoms of prostate cancer to watch for include: pain during urination, blood in the urine, and low back pain.

However, Zhou stresses, “The important part of screening is to catch the disease before symptoms arise.”

At St. Mary’s Cancer Centers of Colorado, each prostate cancer patient’s case will be presented to their tumor board for a complete review.

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“It’s a multidisciplinary approach. We have radiologists, pathologists, oncologists, urologists, and surgeons all in one room reviewing each case and the treatment plan. We take it as a team approach to curing prostate cancer,” Zhou explains.

“Having the tumor board review my case gave me a real strong sense that I was getting a second, third, and fourth opinion without hunting all over the place,” Lanci says.

The team at St. Mary’s Cancer Centers of Colorado is comprised of board certified physicians and nurses with national certifications in oncology. St. Mary’s is the only Cancer Center in the region with dual accreditations from both the Commission on Cancer (COC) and the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

“Expert care close to home is really important. Getting into good treatment, appropriate treatment in a timely fashion, but also being close to home, provides support for family and friends to be around, which is really important when you’re battling cancer,” adds Work.

And for Lanci that team approach, coupled with the convenience of being close to home has been a major blessing in his cancer journey.

“The care here is individual, they know who you are. They know what you’re going through.

And the journey after cancer is a lot more, I think, rewarding and less exhausting,” Lanci exclaims.

Learn more about St. Mary’s Colorado Cancer Center by visiting