New test for prostate cancer now available in Lubbock

Helps determine best treatment, and keeps patients in town
Published: Nov. 12, 2022 at 5:20 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) is a new scan for men who have prostate cancer.

Urologist Dr. Ryan Owen with Covenant Medical Group says the test can detect if the cancer is localized or metastatic.

“It will detect very small amounts of prostate cancer or prostate cells outside the prostate,” Dr. Owen said.

Which is important to know, because he says treatment differs depending on if the cancer has spread. If it has spread, Dr. Owen says there are a couple of treatment options.

“Hormones for the rest of your life or a form of chemotherapy or androgen deprivation therapy that lowers testosterone to try to stop the prostate cancer from growing,” Dr. Owen said.

If it’s localized, the prostate can be removed or treated with radiation.

Before PSMA Dr. Owen had to use a CT or bone scan to determine if cancer had spread.

“But for a CT scan we could only capture nodules that would be, or lymph nodes that are you know, a couple centimeters in diameter,” Dr. Owen said.

Sometimes, patients had to go to the metroplex to get tested. Dr. Owens says that’s not ideal for a cancer patient.

“It’s challenging for a lot of our patients with cancer to travel to Dallas for various reasons: financial, limitations, logistical reasons,” Dr. Owen said. “Now that we have that here we’re going to be able to reach a larger population of our own community members whether it’s in West Texas or Eastern New Mexico.”

Dr. Owen recommends getting tested sooner rather than later.

“Getting with a primary care doctor if you’ve had a history of prostate cancer in the family, so fathers, brothers, any first-degree male relatives, or African American race - those are the risk factors for prostate cancer,” Dr. Owen said.

Covenant physicians are now able to test using the PSMA scan at the Joe Arrington Cancer Center. Officials with UMC say it will be at its cancer center in January.