Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer: A Patient’s Story

When Frank McKee was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he wanted to find the best treatment to fight the disease. After extensively researching treatment options, he finally chose proton therapy, the world’s most advanced form of radiation therapy.

“I wanted to treat the cancer and I wanted to be done with it in a way that had a minimum amount of side effects and affected my life the least,” McKee said. 

Proton therapy offers a variety of benefits to patients with prostate cancer. These include:
  • Reduced radiation to normal, healthy tissues
  • Decreased chance of side effects, complications and toxicity
  • Maximum radiation dose administered directly to the tumor
  • Fewer daily treatments, as deemed appropriate 
  • Ability to re-treat tumors
“My life has been very, very full in the last year and a half since I finished treatment,” said McKee. “There are times I totally forget I had prostate cancer. And that’s a good thing.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dental Implants—Today’s Standard for Tooth Replacement

For people who have lost a permanent tooth, there are more options than ever before for a long-term replacement. In the past, removable dentures made noise or sometimes even fell out while eating, drinking or talking. But now, permanent dental implants mean there’s no need to worry about those inconveniences.

Dental implants are screws that anchor fabricated teeth to the jawbone. The anchor is made of titanium, which is similar to the material used to repair fractured bones.

“With a dental implant, the bone actually fuses to the titanium. The implant is most like a natural tooth in that it emerges from the gum and chews like a natural tooth,” said Lawrence Levin, DMD, MD, interim chair of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery. 

Dental implants provide a variety of additional benefits to patients, including:
  • Secure foundation
  • Improved biting pressure
  • Restored chewing ability
  • Prevention of teeth shifting into areas where teeth are missing
  • Improved speech
  • Preservation of healthy teeth—no drilling required on surrounding teeth
  • Provide an option for patients with problematic jaw or teeth structure
Penn Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery’s multidisciplinary group of experts in surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases, disorders, injuries and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face provide dental implant services at multiple locations in the Philadelphia region, including Penn Medicine Radnor*.

*A facility of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Friday, June 1, 2012

Penn’s Basser Research Center: Only Center in the World Dedicated to BRCA Research

The Basser Research Center at Penn Medicine was created with the assistance of a $25 million transformational gift from Penn alumni, Mindy and Jon Gray. As part of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, the center is the first of its kind in the world dedicated to researching BRCA. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are gene mutations associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The center focuses on every stage of the diagnosis including:
  • Communication
  • Outreach and risk assessment
  • Prevention
  • Early detection
  • Treatment
  • Survivorship
Led by Executive Director Susan M. Domchek, MD, the center supports research with a focus on interdisciplinary work and seeks to accelerate the pace of translational research. Starting with a team of eight revolutionary researchers and physicians, the Basser Research Center is dedicated to better understanding the development of cancer, creating less invasive interventions for prevention and treatment and ultimately, saving lives.