MD Anderson in Sugar Land Adds Specialist in Prostate, Genitourinary Cancers

Papadopoulos Launches Multidisciplinary Prostate Clinic

MD Anderson News Release 05/15/2012

John Papadopoulos, M.D., has joined The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Regional Care Center in Sugar Land, providing the community a new level of expertise in cancers of the prostate, kidneys and bladder.

Papadopoulos, a urologist who specializes solely in cancer, leads a multidisciplinary team in Sugar Land composed of a surgeon, radiation oncologist and genitourinary medical oncologist. The collaborative approach ensures that each patient receives the highest level of cancer care from a coordinated and efficient team that specializes in specific disease sites.

As a prostate cancer specialist and surgeon, Papadopoulos and his team extend the services offered at MD Anderson in the Texas Medical Center to patients in Sugar Land and the surrounding communities. These services include a multidisciplinary prostate cancer clinic where patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer receive comprehensive information on treatment options at one place on a single day. The clinic is designed to help every patient diagnosed with prostate cancer be well informed about their treatment options so they can choose what is best for them.

In some cases of low-risk disease, men do not require up-front treatment and can be monitored closely. Called active surveillance, this strategy allows patients with slow-growing and non-threatening prostate cancers a safe alternative to more invasive options.

“There are so many options now for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, it can be very confusing,” said Papadopoulos. “Even within surgical treatments, there are multiple options ranging from robotics to cryosurgery, and with radiation, from proton to brachytherapy to intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). We want to give patients one place to talk to a number of specialists at once so they can take in all the information and then make a decision that’s appropriate for them.”

According to Papadopoulos, a diagnosis of prostate cancer seldom means a rush to treatment. If a patient has an elevated PSA and prostate cancer is suspected or even confirmed, he advises that men take the time to find a team that offers a wide variety of treatment options.

“When patients hear the word ‘cancer,’ their entire world changes,” said Papadopoulos. “Because it’s a life-changing diagnosis, patients need to step back, take a deep breath and learn everything they can about the disease and treatment. They need to ask probing questions and find a team with whom they’re most comfortable.”

In addition to diagnosing and treating men with prostate cancer, Papadopoulos will see patients with kidney, bladder and testicular cancer.

As an MD Anderson faculty member, Papadopoulos also is assistant professor in the Department of Urology in the Division of Surgery.  

Papadopoulos completed a two-year fellowship at MD Anderson prior to joining the Sugar Land center. In addition to his clinical fellowship in urologic oncology, he completed a one-year research fellowship working in the lab of Isaiah J. Fidler, D.V.M., Ph.D, professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, one of the world’s leading experts in cancer metastasis, or spread of the disease. According to Papadopoulos, understanding the biology of metastasis is vital, since it is the spread of cancer to other parts of the body that causes cancer to be lethal.

A native Houstonian, Papadopoulos attended medical school at Texas Tech University School of Medicine and completed his internship in general surgery and urology residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

“In my third year of medical school, I knew I wanted to be a surgeon and to treat cancer,” he said. “I wanted my practice to be very patient centered. It’s all about them and their families being comfortable and understanding everything associated with their diagnosis, disease, treatment and recovery.”

In addition to his training at MD Anderson, Papadopoulos lived and observed the institution’s mission and philosophy of care throughout his life. His father, Nicholas Papadopoulos, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Melanoma Oncology.

John Papadopoulos is one of three specialized surgeons now at the Sugar Land Regional Care Center.  He joins Mark Zafereo, M.D., who specializes in head and neck surgery, and Susan Hoover, M.D., who focuses on breast surgery.

The Sugar Land center is one of four regional care centers bringing MD Anderson’s standard of care into the Houston community.  It is located on the campus of St. Luke’s Sugar Land Hospital.