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Technology and innovation help WellSpan patient overcome prostate cancer

September 30, 2020

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Technology and innovation help WellSpan patient overcome prostate cancer

Karl Fieldhouse is no stranger to cancer. His wife is a two-time cancer survivor. So, when blood tests found him with high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) numbers, he had a sinking feeling of what to expect.

"I anticipated the diagnosis," said Fieldhouse. "I saw my numbers continuing to go up, and so I had mentally prepared myself for what was next."

The 75-year old, retired Red Lion school teacher was diagnosed with prostate cancer. There was some good news, however, as it was caught early enough that something could be done about it.

"The fact that it was caught so early is actually a testament to the physicians at WellSpan," said Fieldhouse. "My first biopsy came back negative, but they knew that something didn't add up. And thank goodness for that."

Doctors at WellSpan Imaging Center ordered a second biopsy, but this one combining data from five different MRI scanning sequences using artificial intelligence (A.I.), which shows things the human eye can’t see. The technology was added to WellSpan Imaging Center in York in the fall of 2018 and may have been a life-saver for Fieldhouse. The new technology was able to find a nodule within the prostate gland, which helped them determine it was cancer.

Despite the unsettling diagnosis, Karl never lost hope of recovering, and knew he had a team that was dedicated to him throughout the journey.

"It was a very reassuring and positive experience, and not all medical experiences are like that," said Fieldhouse. "The WellSpan team is 100 percent committed to your health, and the entire time I was there they treated me like I was their absolute top priority."

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society estimates there are about 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2020, and about 33,330 deaths. Other than skin cancer, it is the most common form of cancer in American men.

"The use of artificial intelligence is a great way for our care teams at WellSpan Health to stay a healthy step ahead of cancer," said Edward Steiner, M.D., chair of WellSpan Imaging and Radiation Oncology. "When Karl's first biopsy came back negative, we knew we had to try a different route, and we are grateful to have the latest technology available here at WellSpan to be able to do that, and we’re thrilled with the recovery that Karl has been able to make."

Karl Fieldhouse has since been treated, and now has less than one percent chance of having that same type of cancer reoccur. Karl says being treated by the care teams at WellSpan Health was the best decision he could have made for his health.

"I would recommend WellSpan to anyone going through this in a heartbeat," said Fieldhouse. "There is no need to go outside of York to get the best treatment options available. WellSpan is on the cutting edge, and I truly believe it saved my life."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some men with prostate cancer experience no symptoms at all, while others experience:

  • Difficulty starting urination.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
  • Painful ejaculation.

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