Urologist: Thomas J. Polascik, MD

My name is Tom Polascik, and
I’m a urological surgeon here at Duke. I specialize in both prostate and
kidney cancer surgery. The first thing I try to do is determine
how aggressive their particular tumor may be. We see a number of patients who
may have relatively indolent, or slow growing tumors, and
those who have faster growing tumors. So the very first step is to determine
if we can even follow them, and do they need treatment at all? And for
those who need more aggressive treatment, we try to do it in the least
invasive way possible. I’ve designed a number of protocols
that actually assess what type of tumor patients have,
especially in regards to prostate cancer. So, we have in place protocols to
determine if they qualify for monitoring, which is a non surgical treatment,
and we can safely follow them. And then we have other minimally invasive
treatments, where we can target and oblate just the tumor, and
preserve the remainder of the gland. In other words,
preserve a mans potency and continence. We have developed techniques both
in prostate and kidney, whereby, we can remove these tumors
with robotic surgery. Or we can oblate them simply by
using needle based technologies, which is the least
invasive method possible. It has the fastest recovery. Many of my patients don’t require
much pain medicine after surgery. And they get back to their
quality of life quite quickly. I’ve always wanted to become a surgeon,
not necessarily a physician. But I have always wanted
to operate on patients. I enjoy working with my hands. I grew up as a classical pianist,
and played for a number of years. And I wanted to essentially, get into
a field that I could actually help people and make a big difference in their life.

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