Celebrating Life on Memorial Day

Memorial Day, to many, means a day off of work, a few burgers on the grill, and time spent with family and friends. Some people don’t think much beyond their family picnic as to what the day really means. But to many, Memorial Day means a lot more.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in which we remember those that have died while serving in the United States military. It is officially recognized on the last Monday in May. This day of remembrance is often spent at war museums and in cemeteries, thinking back on our country’s history and those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom with their own life.

When people think of cancer, many people often just assume it’s a terminal diagnosis. With advances in prostate cancer research, thankfully, prostate cancer is no longer an automatic death sentence. So, on this Memorial Day, let us, instead, celebrate the fact that men diagnosed with prostate cancer are surviving! Let us honor those doctors and scientists who have helped men diagnosed with prostate cancer lead full, healthy lives. Without their research, their initiative, and their passion for their work, these newly-diagnosed men would face a much different fate.

Here are just a few individuals we will honor on this Memorial Day.

In the 1970s a team of scientists at Indiana University combined the sciences behind ultrasound and medical engineering to create the beginnings of what we now know as High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). They used their newly-created technology to ablate targeted tissue, and conducted trials with patients with terminal brain cancer. These trials showed many positive results which allowed them to continue with their research. Their successes eventually followed with government grants and advancements in their new creation. By the early 2000s, they had created an early Sonablate product.

By October 2015, Sonablate became the first focused ultrasound device approved by the FDA for use in the ablation of prostate tissue. Charlotte businessman Steve Puckett Sr. founded the company, Sonablate Medical, and helped to push for the U.S. approval of HIFU.

Charlotte, NC urologist Dr. Samuel Peretsman was one of the first doctors to perform High Intensity Focused Ultrasound in the United States. For 10 years, he routinely traveled from his Charlotte practice to Bermuda and the Bahamas to meet his Charlotte patients to treat their prostate cancer using HIFU. In October 2015, the FDA approved HIFU for use in the United States, and in December 2015, Dr. Peretsman was able to perform HIFU without boarding a plane.

These, however, are a mere few of the countless men and women who have done the research, conducted the trials, and made prostate cancer a treatable disease.

So, on this Memorial Day, let us take a moment to remember those that passed on before us, and be thankful for those who put in the hours daily to do the research and perfect the devices that will hopefully make prostate cancer death a thing of the past.

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