Ascension Parish Prostate Cancer Patient Experiences Benefits of New Spacing Device

Prostate cancer patients receiving radiation treatment can now have a more effective, comfortable experience


(Gonzales) Prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Gonzales now have access to a SpaceOAR, a new, innovative tool proven to provide protection from treatment side effects. Ascension Parish resident Herben Henry was the first person in the area to be treated using SpaceOar and he attests that it was the right choice for him. The SpaceOAR gel system creates space between the prostate and rectum, and has been shown to reduce bowel, bladder and erectile damage.

Previously, in order to protect prostate cancer patients’ organs during radiation treatment, it was necessary to insert a balloon in the rectum before every radiation dose, meaning some patients would endure this procedure every day for five to nine weeks; conversely, SpaceOAR is a temporary gel and is administered only once at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge then radiation treatments can occur at Mary Bird’s Gonzales location.

“I only had to drive to Baton Rouge once to receive SpaceOAR, after that I was able to go back to receive my treatments in Gonzales,” said Henry. “This decision was a no-brainer for me, it put my mind at ease knowing that it was a one-stop shop and I wouldn’t have to drive 30 miles a day to receive radiation, it was a true blessing.”

The SpaceOAR System is injected through the skin into the space between the patient’s prostate and rectum prior to radiation. The gel remains in place for about three months during radiation treatment and then liquefies, and is absorbed and cleared from the body in the patient’s urine.

“SpaceOAR was a clear choice for Mr. Henry and now he’s able to continue his treatment back home,” said Charles Wood, M.D., the only radiation oncologist in Louisiana who is a Certified Applier of SpaceOAR. “Clinical research has shown that by using SpaceOAR, patients experience fewer side effects and a better quality of life post treatment.”

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Louisiana, but if caught early, five-year survival is close to 100 percent. Men should begin screenings at age 50 or 45 for African Americans or those with a family history.

For more information, please call the Cancer Center at (225) 767-0847.


As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advance technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife®Icon™. The American College of Surgeons has named the Cancer Center a recipient of its prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award for three consecutive survey cycles. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit