Meet Benjamin Lowentritt, Urologist
In this episode, Dr. Dovec interviews Benjamin Lowentritt, MD, FACS, Medical Director of GBMC’s Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Program and Director of Robotics, about prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men,” Dr. Lowentritt explained. “It affects between one in seven and one in nine men during their lifetime and it’s the second most common cause of cancer death in the U.S. The good news is that when prostate cancer is found early, it’s often more treatable, so that’s why we encourage all men age 50 and older and men with a family history of prostate cancer or breast or ovarian cancer to talk with their primary care physician about what screening schedule is appropriate for them.”
Typically, prostate cancer screening includes a blood test called a PSA test, which looks at the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood, and a digital rectal exam. If test results are abnormal, you’ll be referred to a urologist, who will repeat the PSA test and can also order new blood and urine tests that can help determine prostate cancer risk. If these tests suggest a cancer diagnosis, the next step is a needle biopsy, which can be done under local anesthetic or sedation.
“Prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms until it’s in its advanced stages,” said Dr. Lowentritt. “That’s why it’s important to be proactive with screening. Once a patient is experiencing symptoms, it’s often too late for effective treatment.”
Dr. Lowentritt explained that the gold standard treatments for prostate cancer, surgery and radiation, achieve equivalent long-term results. If you do choose surgery, Dr. Lowentritt performs the majority of procedures laparoscopically with the assistance of a robotic surgery system. “The incisions are less than an inch long and the robot allows us to work within the tight space of the pelvis with a full range of motion that wouldn’t be possible manually,” he said.
“Deciding which treatment to pursue can be a difficult decision,” he added. “Talking with your urologist about the different side effects of each treatment can help men make this complex decision. For me, it’s very rewarding to guide my patients through the process of making this decision.”