Physician Turns to Long Beach Memorial for Cancer Care

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Cancer

A.S. Abbasi, MD, is an accomplished cardiologist that has worked in Long Beach for more than 35 years. As a doctor, he knows how to make intelligent health care choices, and knows the value of pre-screening. With a family history of prostate cancer Dr. Abbasi began having regular biopsies beginning at 67 to make sure he was one step ahead of cancer. But, in March 2009 the biopsy came back positive even though he showed no symptoms of cancer. He did extensive research on cancer facilities and chose Long Beach Memorial to receive his cancer care.

After consulting several doctors, Dr. Abbasi was referred to A. M. Nisar Syed, MD, member of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, director of Radiation Oncology and Endocurietherapy at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial. Dr. Syed is an international cancer leader and one of the world pioneers in Brachytherapy, a radiation treatment that isolates radiation exposure to tumors and preserves healthy cells. Since Dr. Abbasi was 76 at the time and had a stent in his heart from a blocked artery, it was difficult to determine the best course of treatment for Dr. Abbasi.

After careful consideration Dr. Abbasi and Dr. Syed came to a conclusion – brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is less intense because it is more localized and requires less radiation sessions. Brachytherapy, also called internal radiotherapy, is when radiation "seeds" are planted in the region surrounding the cancer. It is then followed by Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) that goes directly into the prostate.

With this method, Dr. Abbasi only had 20 sessions of therapy rather than the standard 40. Brachytherapy allowed fewer sessions because the "seeds" make the radiation more localized and whatever is left of the cancer is taken care of by the IMRT. The best thing is life didn't stop for Dr. Abbasi, he still was able to continue working and going to the gym, throughout his care, even on the same day of an IMRT treatment.

"I am so grateful for the care that I was given by Dr. Syed and the care team at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute," says Dr. Abbasi. "Dr. Syed is a soft spoken man, and a real gentleman, but a complete swashbuckler when it comes to fighting cancer. I was very impressed and thankful for his knowledge and care."

Today Dr. Abbasi has retired, but he continues to stay busy by serving on the clinical faculty at UCLA. He has finished his treatments and continues to keep getting better. "I feel as good as I did before being diagnosed. It's as if there was nothing ever wrong with me in the first place," said Dr. Abbasi.