Penn Highlands Mon Valley Now Treats Prostate Cancer With High Dose Rate Brachytherapy

Men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Southwestern Pennsylvania now have a new therapy available in their region. Penn Highlands Mon Valley has expanded its high dose rate brachytherapy program to include treatment for prostate cancer. For more than a decade, the hospital has been offering this innovative procedure for the treatment of breast, skin and gynecological cancers.

Performed on an outpatient basis under spinal or general anesthesia, high dose rate brachytherapy temporarily implants radioactive sources directly into or beside tumors. This procedure delivers a more conformal dose of radiation while preserving the surrounding tissue. When the patient leaves Penn Highlands Mon Valley, he is pain free and there is no risk of radioactive exposure to loved ones.

“This is a major advancement in the treatment of men with aggressive or locally advanced prostate cancer,” explained Mohsen A. Isaac, MD, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at the Hahne Cancer Center at Penn Highlands Mon Valley. “High dose rate brachytherapy has been proven to improve outcomes compared to other therapies.”

Dr. Isaac and his team of physicists, nurses and therapists deliver high dose rate brachytherapy as a “boost” in combination with external beam radiation therapy to improve the quality of life and treatment outcomes for high- and intermediate risk prostate patients. The external beam radiation is administered five days a week for five weeks with one treatment of high dose rate brachytherapy.

“It is gratifying that we are able to make this therapy available to the people in this region,” said Dr. Isaac. “People appreciate that they can receive advanced treatment without having to leave the familiarity of this region.”

Penn Highlands Mon Valley is able to offer this high dose rate brachytherapy through the generosity of a former patient who bequeathed funds to the hospital to enhance prostate cancer treatments at the hospital’s Cancer Center.

“This former patient graduated from our care many, many years ago and did not need to come back, but did so every year because of the outstanding care the Center provided to him,” explained Deborah L. Burkhardt R.T. (R)(T)(CT)(ARRT), Director of Radiation Oncology at Penn Highlands Mon Valley.

Danyell L. Bundy, Director of Operations and Major Gifts, System Fund Development at Penn Highlands Healthcare, praised the Radiation Oncology staff at Penn Highlands Mon Valley for the care they provide to patients and the relationships they form with them.

“It truly shows when you believe in what you do and foster a patient-centric, care-centric environment. For patients, establishing a connection with those who provide care to them is just as important in their outcomes as the therapies they receive.”

About Penn Highlands Healthcare

Penn Highlands Healthcare was officially formed in 2011, and is comprised of eight hospitals – Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield, Penn Highlands Connellsville, Penn Highlands DuBois, Penn Highlands Elk, Penn Highlands Huntingdon, Penn Highlands Mon Valley and Penn Highlands Tyrone -- that have served area communities for the past 100+ years. Its business continuum also includes home care agencies, long-term care facilities and residential senior living communities, as well as durable medical equipment companies and retail pharmacies.

Penn Highlands Healthcare has evolved into an organization with 6,651 workers in 150+ locations throughout 26 counties in Pennsylvania that include community medical buildings, outpatient facilities, surgery centers and physician practices. The facilities have a total of 1,498 inpatient, skilled nursing and personal care beds. The system, which has 827 physicians and 405 advanced practice providers on staff, offers a wide range of care and treatments with specialty units for cancer, cardiovascular/thoracic, neurosurgery, pulmonology, neonatal and high-risk pregnancy patients. Being focused on what is important – patients and families – makes Penn Highlands Healthcare the best choice in the region.