WCA Foundation Grants Life Saving Prostate Cancer Detection

Urologist Eric Arnone, M.D. is assisted by Samantha Anderson, Sonographer and Echographer, as he identifies a lesion found on MRI using the Phillips UroNav MRI fusion in the surgical suite of UPMC Chautauqua. The new technology is part of a $347,732 grant from WCA Foundation that supports the hospital. It is used for early detection and diagnosis of prostate and kidney cancers. Submitted photo

As printed in The Post-Journal, Jamestown, NY, July 27, 2020

By Brigetta Overcash

The next generation of prostate care has been installed at UPMC Chautauqua thanks to the WCA Foundation.

“This is a big one” said Ryan White, M.D., a local urologist, as he spoke of the new UroNav Fusion Biopsy System and a BK 5000 Ultrasound purchased by WCA Foundation for patients of UPMC Chautauqua. “It’s a necessary change that was going to happen as time goes forward. To get the equipment before it is mandated speaks to the foresight of the hospital and our practice. It is still considered cutting edge.”

“The UroNav is used specifically to diagnose and biopsy prostate cancer,” explained Dr. White, “while the BK 3000 Ultrasound machine is used to diagnose prostate and renal cancer. It works intraoperatively to identify kidney cancer during the prostate exam. We can localize and identify the issues in the kidney, so the entire kidney doesn’t need to be removed.”

“It’s nice to have it before others,” said his partner Eric Arnone, M.D. “We’re excited to share the news. The biopsies are very accurate, and we are able to target lesions better. We’ve had very positive words about it.

“Ben thought it was like Christmas when we heard WCA Foundation was supplying the equipment to the hospital,” Dr. Arnone said of his partner.

Dr. Eric Arnone of Western New York Urology studies a patient’s images on the new UroNav MRI for the position of the abnormality detected during an examination at UPMC Chautauqua. Submitted photo

Dr. Benjamin Luong, who trained on the same equipment during his fellowship in urologic oncology and robotic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, said “I didn’t think we would have it until five years after I came here. This is just wonderful. We are so grateful.”

It was a cold night in January when White, Arnone, Luong and their medical colleagues at UPMC Chautauqua were hosted by WCA Foundation. The hospital’s president, Brian Durniok, made the internal announcement that WCA Foundation was funding the almost $348,000 suite of equipment to fight prostate cancer. It included the purchase of the UroNav system used to diagnose and biopsy prostate cancer and the BK 5000 Ultrasound machine used to diagnose prostate and renal cancer. The BK 5000 advanced ultrasound is designed specifically for Urology to produce exceptional prostate imaging, premium kidney, bladder and testicular imaging, and enhanced lesion targeting also with fusion-guided biopsies.

“The acquisition of this new equipment is of great benefit to UPMC Chautauqua and our communities,” Durniok said. “The UroNav system allows us to provide state of the art care to Urology patients throughout the region. Approximately a year ago the Urology team of physicians approached the hospital about the possibility of purchasing the equipment. Once they explained how much it would help our patients, we knew we had to find a way to make it happen.

“We then approached the WCA Foundation with the idea,” he continued. “Dr. Arnone gave the Foundation board a presentation on how much the equipment would upgrade care and the Board quickly agreed to support the project.

“The support that the hospital receives from the foundation is fantastic. They are providing us with support related to projects that enhance care locally,” Durniok explained. “The Board is passionate about ensuring that the projects that they help fund enhance quality and patient outcomes. The help they have given the hospital is fantastic and we are very blessed to have their backing.”

Arnone serves as a bridge between the hospital and foundation as a member of WCA Foundation’s Board of Directors with Durniok with 11 others.

“This is very expensive. We are attaining a lot of resources to provide the highest level of care within this community,” Dr. Arnone said.

Previously a lot of patients had to travel to Buffalo for this kind of care. The community needs to know and believe that this technology puts us on par or better than any facility you can go to. It is most important to serve our patients locally. That was the driving force of the hospital when working to have this equipment.

“It is a unique situation that the hospital went above and beyond to get this equipment,” Arnone said. “It shows the good relationship between the hospital, other practices and WCA Foundation to serve this community. WCA Foundation looks to purchase equipment that will make a big impact on the community – in this case men. Everybody on the foundation board could relate to the state-of-the-art way this would serve our donors and area.”

“Prostate cancer affects men is all localities. It’s genetic,” said Dr. White. “This allows us to investigate it locally. People are happy with what we are able to offer here. It is important they understand we make good judgements and refer when necessary. Any time we can keep people local for these services it is very worthwhile.”

“Forward thinking from the practice and the hospital allows us to bring physicians to this community,” Dr. White added. “So, if we didn’t have advancements such as this, it would be very difficult to recruit and retain young physicians for the service of our healthcare system.”

“That is were the role of WCA Foundation becomes so key, so clear,” said Durniok. “It partners community donors through the foundation’s endowments, the needs of the hospital to serve the healthcare of the region’s population and visitors, while providing for the future of healthcare in our area with highly trained physicians and the equipment they need.”

“WCA Foundation is committed to supporting the health care initiatives of UPMC Chautauqua. We’ve done that since 1982 when we were organized,” said Peter Stark, chair of the Board of Directors of WCA Foundation. “It gives us great satisfaction to be able to support the health of men in the Chautauqua Region with this kind of equipment. We strive to give grants to the hospital that would otherwise be above and beyond their current budgetary situation. With this equipment, I think we hit it out of the ballpark – helping our constituents and the hospital. A real home run.”

Individuals interested in WCA Foundation and how they can partner with it to bring forth more next generation health care initiatives through its grants, may contact Brigetta Overcash, Executive Director of WCA Foundation, 716-664-5461, Overcashbe@upmc.edu or Megan Barone, Director of Development, 716-664-8423, Baromema3@upmc.edu. Donations to support this kind of healthcare in this region, can be made to the Fund for the Patients at www.wcafoundationjamestown.org or by mailing to WCA Foundation, P.O. Box 840; Jamestown, NY 14702-0840.

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