February 6, 2015 | by Valerie Zapanta
The treatment of urologic cancers, including bladder cancer, is rapidly evolving. Here, urologic oncologic surgeon and kidney stone specialist Donald Hannoun, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope | Antelope Valley, explains the changes in his field, as well as his approach to medicine.
Did someone or something from your early experience in life motivate you to go into medicine?
I’ve always loved working with people. I couldn’t think of a more altruistic field than medicine. What motivated me to get into urology was my late grandfather’s struggle with bladder stones, which are hard masses of minerals in the bladder. He was completely miserable before his surgery, and was then transformed into a new man after having them removed. To see such immediate results made me seriously consider urology. Now, I treat all types of genitourinary cancers, including kidney, bladder, prostate and testicular cancer.
What's new in urology treatment and where do you see it heading in the future?
There are always new and exciting treatments available in urology. One of the most exciting fields in urology is patient imaging. We are trying to change the way we image patients in order to provide less radiation exposure without affecting diagnostic accuracy. As with all cancer treatments, I foresee the future continuing to trend toward minimally invasive procedures and more organ-preserving options. For example, some patients with aggressive bladder cancer have their bladder removed by undergoing a urinary diversion procedure. Perhaps in the future, we will have technology available to adequately resect the cancer and spare the rest of the bladder.
What's different about the way you approach urology?
I like to approach all urology patients with the idea of prevention and education. I really believe that if someone understands the roots of their disease process, they are more likely to stay motivated during their treatment course. Patients will also be more open to prevention strategies, if applicable. I enjoy taking the extra time to explain things thoroughly to educate my patients, allowing me to help them make the best decisions for their care and their lives.
Is there a thought that is always on your mind as you arrive to work every day?
I practice at the City of Hope | Antelope Valley community practice. My colleagues and I deliver the highest-quality surgical and medical oncological care to a large population that previously had to commute at least one hour to receive equivalent care. Now, this care is available close to home, making consultation, follow-up and surgical care more feasible and accessible. So I am lucky to work at City of Hope, because I feel that I work with, not for, an organization and group of people who have dedicated their goals and mission to truly the care of patients. This makes every day a memorable day.
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