Jeanny B. Aragon-Ching, MD, is the clinical program director of genitourinary cancers at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. She is board certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine and has a special interest in caring for patients with prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancers. Read Dr. Aragon-Ching’s profile.
This February, I’ll be traveling to Orlando for the 2017 Genitourinary (GU) Cancer Symposium, one of the largest symposiums on GU cancers. This annual international meeting sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) brings together doctors and researchers to share the latest findings on the best ways to care for patients with prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer and testicular cancer, collectively known as genitourinary (GU) cancers.
As a member of the GU symposium’s program planning committee, I’m excited to see the conference provide a forum for thousands of other cancer specialists, urologists, radiation oncologists and other medical experts. We’ll be discussing the most promising new research in the field of GU cancers. Over the past several years, we’ve seen a lot of exciting advances.
New Advances in GU Cancer Treatment
One important emerging area is the field of immunotherapy – treatments that harness parts of a patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy is showing promise as one of the tools in our toolkit to treat advanced kidney and bladder cancers. Researchers are also beginning to explore whether immunotherapy could be an effective way to treat prostate cancer, and presenters will address this topic in one of the keynote speeches.
In prostate cancer, another hot topic is the idea of “active surveillance.” In recent years, we’ve learned that many prostate cancers grow very slowly and may not pose an immediate threat. For many patients, we can keep a close eye on these tumors and hold off on invasive treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy.
As we continue to learn about how different prostate cancers develop, I expect we can take greater advantage of active surveillance for some patients, while making sure we choose the right treatments whenever active treatment is necessary.
Inova’s Cancer-Fighting Team
Participating in scientific meetings, such as the GU Cancer Symposium, is one important way Inova stays on the cutting-edge of cancer treatment. At the meeting, I’ll be co-chairing a session on treating advanced kidney cancer. I’ll also be presenting research on U.S. treatment patterns for prostate cancer. While I’m excited to share my own knowledge, I’m also looking forward to learning from my colleagues in the field.
Our multidisciplinary genitourinary cancer team is committed to using the latest science and providing our patients the best care. One important way we do that is by taking a team approach to every case. When a new patient is diagnosed with GU cancer, our urologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists meet to discuss how best to move forward with his or her treatment.
We recognize that every case is unique. Even two patients of the same age and with the same type of cancer might require very different therapies. Our team considers all the angles to create an individualized plan for every patient.
By staying on top of current research, we can ensure that those treatment plans offer the best possible odds of success. Learn more about our Inova Genitourinary Cancer Program.