A less invasive treatment for prostate cancer now available called Focal treatment

Thomas Pierre, longtime Walnut Foundation member, has died

By Lincoln DePradine

Dr Neil Fleshner

When patients are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Ontario, the treatment options given by doctors are usually radiation, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, active surveillance, or “radical prostatectomy’’ – the surgical removal of the prostate.

However, clinical scientist and oncologist, Dr Neil Fleshner, says there are other options – “focal treatment’’ – for prostate cancer, which accounts for one in five male cancers, with men of Caribbean and West African ancestry particularly susceptible to the disease.

“There are focal therapy options available in Canada and the US, but some therapy is not covered by OHIP. It tends to be expensive,’’ Fleshner told The Caribbean Camera.

“Focal therapy is to kill the cancer, using some type of energy and then otherwise leave the prostate intact to maximize the quality of life,’’ explained Fleshner, chair of the division of urology at the University of Toronto. “The concept being that you can target the tumor and try and destroy it but leave the prostate otherwise in the body; but, we have to look at each case individually and then determine the treatment.’’

Thomas Pierre

According to Fleshner, “prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men’’.

Concern about the impact of the disease on members of the Black and Caribbean community in Canada led to the formation in 2007 of The Walnut Foundation (TWF), a charitable, not-for-profit organization. As part of its mandate, TWF seeks to increase awareness about prostate cancer and provides information about diagnosis, treatment and follow-up practices.

TWF representatives are currently mourning the death of longtime member, Grenada-born Thomas Pierre.

A visitation for Pierre, 79, will be held Thursday, March 24, 4 pm – 8 pm, at the Jerrett Funeral Home, 660 Kennedy Road.

His funeral is Friday, March 25, starting 2 pm, at St. Maria Goretti Parish, 717 Kennedy Road.