Working In Oncology
Working In Oncology

Episode 3 · 2 years ago

From Treating Individual Patients to Prostate Cancer Advocacy w/ Dr. Benjamin Lowentritt

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Whether your prostate cancer benefit run has 250 or 3,000 people show up in support, you’re doing valuable work to serve your community. 

 

Today’s guest partners with ZERO, The End of Prostate Cancer, because he wants to help even more than just the individual patients he sees. 

 

In this episode, we interview Dr. Benjamin Lowentritt, Partner at Chesapeake Urology Associates, about how a run for prostate cancer turned into several millions to support research and patient advocacy. 

 

What we talked about: 

--How the run & partnership with ZERO came about 

--People who underestimate prostate cancer 

--Belonging to a community of supporters, advocates, & cheerleaders 

--ZEROcancer.org 


Stay connected with Working in Oncology on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our podcast website.

You're listening to working in oncology, a podcast and video show that spotlights oncology practice staff and industry influencers who work behind the scenes to shape the future of oncology. The more knowledge the oncology community shares with each other, the more we all grown. Let's get into the show. Okay, everyone, thank you for joining us today. On Michelle molar with bio plus, especially pharmacy, and joining us today in our podcast working in oncology is Dr Ben Low and Trit of Chesapeake. Youre Ology, one of the premier, I think the premier you're alogy practice in the mid Atlantic and we're excited to chat with him today. They are involved in zero cross skates. This is the leading group to both educate and find access for patients who have been diagnosed with dance prostate cancer, and we're excited to chat with him today. So, Dr Low and Trit. So I was raised by a marine father and a lot of how I am and pretty much it was put to live with fish and gives the focus. It's the reason I do, but I do. How do you live your life? What's your mission? Wow, that's getting deep right away. I appreciate that. No, it it really does feel. You know, people talk about what drives people into medicine, what drives people into their specific type of role in any type of career. I mean, I think that that what guides me mostly is finding solutions to help all types of people. You know, the the it's not as generic is I want to help people, but I I try to find solutions that you know, are are needed, you know, for a bigger group of people. So...

I love treating individual patients, but I also really enjoy trying to build a system that helps a broader group of patients, even if it's not just the ones that I'm seeing, and that comes in my work that I do with in my group, it comes in some of the work that, you know, we do externally and and and that I do externally. So I mean it's I think that's probably the best way to say it. Is just trying to solve problems that can help the most people possible. You have, you always been a problem solver to start it, you know, age twelve or twenty two or we brain. But what I think about it, I guess so you know. I mean, I I think what I said is I never said no to a challenge. Whether or not I always figured out the problem the solution. I always just sort of took on any challenge that would come and say, you know, and never said no, probably to my own you know, detrimented times that I got distracted from things, but now I've always I've always been drawn to you know, to the to a challenge. Awesome. I think they're all needs more people like you've been. That's very sweet. So tell us about zero prostates. So that's awesome. Is this something you started? Is this something your practice? Joints a mission is tell us about that great question. So you know, initially in two thousand seven or so, and just for a little history, Chesapeake your ology came together as a larger group of three prior groups in two thousand and six, and the next year one of my friends and partners, Sean Van Zeal was, you know, had this idea and brought it to our then president, now chairman of the Board, Sandy Segel, and said, you know, we should do a run for prostate cancer. So you know Sandy, who is anyone that's ever met this man, he's got the energy that, you know, everyone is drawn to and and has grand visions for things and really...

...his immediate response was, let's not just do a run, let's build, you know, for prostate cancer, an equivalent of what Coman, you know, Susan Becomo is for, you know, breasts. So the you know, and that was, I'm kind of at the height of that movement as well, and the races. So and at first we did it under our own moniker, you know, for a couple of years. But zero and it's, you know, zero is a an organization that certainly existed before and they do advocacy and education and and hold screenings into a number of good events. was became our partner within a few years of US starting this and we've now been with them, I believe, for ten years. But when we started it we were you know, I there's certainly probably other procesy cancer runs out there, but but since we joined with zero, there now, I believe, three thousand five to forty different zero procesy cancer run walks in across the country run by groups similar to ours. Right, so it really did start a wave that that's been been really very successful and very gratifying. The Baltimore one is still by far their biggest. We've raised well over what we weighed several million dollars, and our two main beneficiaries of this are zero themselves and also the Eurology Care Foundation through the American Eurological Association, which is certainly more research based, and then the patient advocacy and access. Is what zero does well, and I think that's awesome. I just want to give a shout out if anyone listening wants to have access that phone number. It's eight four four two, four four one zero, or, excuse me, one three four nine. Again, that's eight four four two, four four, one three nine, and that's for patients that are looking for I guess I...

...love to build a community, like how do you live with Cross state cancer? GOING FORWARD? Euro Cancer Dot Org. Just if anyone's, you know, looking out there. Yeah, know it. There's all types of resources through zero, and and you know it, from helping people get transportation to a treatment that may be needed, to finding a screening event or just general education. There really are a lot of wonderful things that they provide it and know it's really giving me an interesting as as as my career as progressed, I've also been really gratified to get more involved with zero as well and on their medical advisory board now. So it's a wonderful organization. Really proud that we can have been a part of that and and it's really part of the family. It's all part of the fabric of what we are now. Wow, I'm boring my pink because it is breast cancer awareness month, although I learned from my football boys apparently there's the whole football industry is now leading with what catch is it, which is about catch watching all of us? I had two questions. Number One, pink. Does prostate have a color? It is? It's like blue typically. Yes. So, besides the number, September was prostate cancer awareness month and so we had our virtual version of the race just a few weeks ago. But absolutely so. No, it's I think the the concept of, you know, screening and and identification early is now the emphasis for a lot of different cancers and and there's so much that we are learning about the best way to manage treat cancer, sometimes super aggressively, sometimes less aggressively right which, you know, minimizes the harm done. And and so I think it really is a very exciting time for for cancer care, for sure. How does one typically discover that they had prostate...

...cancers? They're a magic age. I think forty you get mammograms. Is there an age that you men go see either your alogist or hope that the general discussion is that men between age fifty five and seventy should be having a conversation with their doctors about getting screening with with the simple blood test, which is PSA, and a digital rectal exam which you know, takes thirty seconds. So the the what I advocate also for is for men to understand their individual risk. Certainly men that have a family history across the cancer, especially at a young age and their father, uncle or a brother, may mean that they want to get screened earlier. African American men have a higher risk and may want to consider getting at least an initial PSA or start screening in their early s just to have that baseline, because really a lot of times it's the it's not necessarily an absolute number in the test like that, it's how it changes over time. So having that kind of history of where it's been and now where it is can be helpful and certainly if there's a concern, it can get us looking out for things earlier. So in your walks and runs, who do you find to be your loudest cheerleaders. Isn't the yeah, the one talker I like to join my husband, isn't your manner? Not always talkers. It's a great point, and you're absolutely right, is that usually there's a very you know, the groups that we have that are most successful are oftentimes led by the the the wives and daughters of the the patient. Since, you know, since a cancer that only affects men, they're their biggest advocates and champions. Often Times are there the women in their lives. And and it's amazing to see the number of people that will come out for one you know, for one guy, you know. And and so we have groups that you know now well into the dozens that the...

...whole team will come out and they'll have their own tshirts and you know it's there. They're really passionate. They've been part of it for years and years. You know, we've grown. We we've always been in the Tauson area, but we're now at on the campus of the university there in the stadium is where we set up and it's a you know where it's always in that late you know, that early fall period, late September. That often the weather's just beautiful. People are loving being outside. It's a great day. It's amazing time. We have all types of, you know, fun things for the the survivors of to do and they get a special attention and have their own tent and we usually have some, you know, celebrity autographs going on and just a lot of activities for kids. So it's a real kind of festival like atmosphere and just, you know, celebrating all of our patients and the men and the people that love them. But yeah, you're at you're right in that the large the loudest cheers are often the the women in their lives. I got to say there are a lot of my guys who I'm impressed with. You know, the patients that are being diagnosed young, they often this becomes you talk about mission, this becomes their mission, right. So they're there and they're bringing their buddies and they're bringing their their car group, you know, their car aficionado group, where they're you know, they're their poker group or whatever it may be, and getting everybody to celebrate and this is there. This is their event that they do every year. It's been remarkable, how to see that happen. So you s here. We missed that individual interaction this year but had a good response online. Yeah, how, I mean, honestly, the new normal. I mean, how is covid changed what you did this year? Do you so? Right, it became, you know, it became another online event. I mean certainly people were invited and we helped, you know, to to run into share their times and things like that, but most of it was, you know, produced and interviews and we tried to reach out to some of those...

...groups of patients that and and and patient advocates that have been that are usually there and and hear from some of our local champions around the community and just try to keep it, keep it on people's minds and keep the community going, because it has been such a powerful, powerful and successful effort, you know. And and it's it's it helps to find us as a company. You know, we were a large private practice and you know, having an outlet like this, you know, it just helps morale within the company. It's certainly, I think, makes people look at us in a different way and it's just really gratifying. I mean it works on every level. Right. So, you know, this has become part, like I said before, it's part of the fabric of what we are and I think that's a testament to to what advocacy like this can can mean. You know, it's a it's a powerful what's the right word for it? It brings people together. It's the glue that makes things stick sometimes. Well, it's how I came to know you better. Yeah, you know, I was a I've I was, I've been a Tassin and the fall watching the leaves. It's, yeah, powerful. I I think in ten years, have you seen men change how they received the diagnosis, because now there is a community? I mean how has that kind of change? You have to give the beginning of your career versus now, you know, I think it's interesting. There's been a lot of external controversy about identifying prostate cancer. Right there was a debate about should we be testing because prosity cancers known to be a slow growing cancer and in many men, you know, the saying is you're more likely to die with it than die of it. So that, unfortunately, in some people's minds flipped to well then we don't need to really test for it, even though it's the second highest killer of cancer. You know of men...

...from cancer standpoint. So even though it's probably only one out of every six men that has prostate cancer that will die of it, you know it's it's there's a lot of men that are living with it right. So we've gotten a lot smarter and how we treat or monitor patients and trying to find those patients that that need things the most and then be aggressive with them, but maybe be a little bit less aggressive with our our other patients. But it's a so I do think that that men are clearly more educated about it. There's a lot out there now, but I do think it's funny. I think it's also a lot of primary care doctors kind of getting re educated about it because it's a there's been a bit of controversy here and in a world where there's so many demands on the the primary care physician, know it's got to be. It's a challenge to know, okay, to be up on the latest recommendations of every single thing that's out there. So we try to and that's partly you know, through zero and others, we try to get the word out that says hey, you know, we're all trying to be responsible about management of this disease, not overtreat, but certainly not under diagnose. And you know, having those having those discussions, it's a very nuance discussion to have with a patient and and so I do think they're getting more they're getting enough good information out there that they're a little bit more receptive to the the, we'll say, nuance of the discussion. You know, it's a hard it's sometimes a hard thing to get. The hardest thing to do is to get to sell someone they have cancer and then a couple minutes later tell them. But I don't think it's ever going to be a problem and we probably don't need to treat it, you know, and that's a that's what's true of maybe a third of our patients that we can talk about when...

...we diagnose them. So it's a you know, it's an interesting kind of conversation to have and I think it's all about education, right, and it's all about letting the patient be comfortable making their well. So ten years ago that's all started with a Walker, a run. What do you wish you and your group had known ten years ago if you started this? With respecture other practices that are like yeah, no, I think need for advocacy. I think that that it's one of those last things that I said and that I would would put it out there to groups that are around that are considering things, is, don't you know, realize how much a part you play in your own community? Don't just think of yourself as, you know, a doctor's office, right. I mean you are a valuable member of your community and this is just one way to kind of put it out there, give back on some level, but also make people aware of what you're providing and what you want to be and how you can how you can benefit the community that you're in. I mean, we have we do a lot every day for every person that's in front of us, but but this is a way that you can do so much more and it brings people into the system that might have otherwise been missed and and you know, and can really do a lot of more benefit. So kind of along lines what we were saying at the beginning, it is one of those things that that spreads, the spreads the the the the good will across a broad population and can really make a difference for you. I think the only thing that that for us internally, you know, I would I think those first few years we were trying to do it on our own, where a bit of a struggle. I think finding the partner is really what what helped us take it to an even another level. So that was very important. But you know, we're always we're always the world of your Ology is a fairly small world. So we...

...have these conversations all the time with colleagues across the country and hopefully of helped the few people get I think we know we've gotten a few people started and point in the right direction. So, you know, reach out, find out about what you can do and then just start doing it. You know, some some races may have two hundred and fifty people. You know ours has three thousand. You know, it's, it's it's whatever you're doing is valuable so well and it changes people's lives. It was joyful being there. Yeah, it was a celebrations of a sader. You know, it was was really fun. So how did you find zero? And in terms of making that connection with that group, that so little bit insectuous. So one of my longest friends, it's in my group. We actually went to medical school together. His wife is a works with zero. As it turns out. You know, with a started with other work, procect cancer organizations. At that kind of became zero, but we kind of we found that we had this connection already. It wasn't, you know, it wasn't something that happened after we made our connection. So that was probably our first introduction. But they've been I mean they've been active and successful certainly before we, you know, worked with them, but it just ended up being one of those things that matched perfectly. Wow, things happened for reasons, I think so. I really think. Well, this has been a lot of fun. I just want to thank you been for charging us today. So how can people get in touch with you if they want to continue the conversation or network? What's absolutely you know, our website is Chesspi, your ologycom. I am on twitter at at Euro Dr Ben I. We have CHESPI. Your ology has social media pages on instagram and facebook and twitter. We also certainly you can just call my personal office is for one hundred and eight, two, five, five, four five for and and if you're anywhere in the...

...mid Atlantic region, we probably have an office near you. If you call that number you can certainly be ready redirected to one as well. So hopefully any of those means would be possible. Well, and also, congratulations. You guys have a four star rating from a charity navigator and eighty six cents on every dollar goes to the cause or supporting I think what the average is, sixty percent or something sad like that. So cheers. That's that deserves celebration. Well. Well, this has been a lot of fun. Again, I want to thank Dr Benmo and trip forving with us today. I'm working in oncology. Thank you very much. So thanks. Are You satisfied with your patients curtsy to therapy, or are you just settling? You can improve patient outcomes with bioplus specialty pharmacies power of to the first ever two hour, two day to gather promise. It's faster and easier for you and your patients to learn more. Visit bioplus R xcom. You've been listening to working in oncology. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening in Apple Podcast, we'd love for you to leave with rating of the show. Just have the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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