Local oncologist part of ground-breaking study

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A local radiation oncologist is among a group of doctors who recently wrote a ground-breaking study that was published in a national urological publication.

Dr. Philip Shrake has spent the last 11 years as a radiation oncologist at Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia's Gwinnett County Radiation Oncology Center in Lawrenceville. Shrake has practiced radiation oncology for over 16 years.

The study, which is published in the March issue of the Journal of Urology found that radioactive seed implants, a less invasive form of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, are as effective as a radical prostatectomy.

Researchers studied 3,546 men with prostate cancer who received I-125 radioactive seed implants followed by external beam radiation.

"Traditionally, young prostate cancer patients have been steered toward surgery," Shrake told the Daily Post. "We show that patients young or old can experience a convienent, minimally-invasive procedure with results at least as good as surgery."

Shrake said this is the first study to analyze 25 years of follow-up data after radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer patients. The group of four doctors Shrake was a part of found that 73 percent of men who received radioactive seed implants had no evidence of prostate cancer 25 years after they completed the treatment program.

Shrake said the authors of the study have received very positive feedback from the urological community, because many patients can choose this for a "low side effect profile."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said nearly 160,000 men annually receive a radical prostatectomy, which removes the entire prostate, surrounding tissue and often leads to urinary incontinence and sexual problems.