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Spotlight: Targeting Urologic Cancer Care, Treatment

Cancer Care
Author name: Lee Health


Urology graphic

Dr. Joseph Klink grew up on a farm in Indiana, doing what all kids on farms do: chores and more chores. The long hours picking sweet corn, working with livestock, and operating farm equipment trained him well for a career in medicine if you ask him.

“Farm work requires a lot of attention to detail and long hours of concentration,” he says. “That’s probably where I fine-tuned my eye-hand coordination abilities.”

Dr. Klink is a urologic oncologist, a fellowship-trained and board-certified physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancers that affect the urinary tract and male reproductive organs.

Urologic oncology center meets specialized care needs

In January, Dr. Klink brought his extensive experience in urologic oncology from the Hoosier State to Lee Physician Group Urology. He will develop and lead the charge toward meeting Southwest Florida’s need for specialized urologic oncology care and treatment.

“A urologic cancer diagnosis can leave patients feeling shocked, devastated and overwhelmed,” Dr. Klink says. “We’ll be here for them—right where they live—in their own community. Our community members shouldn’t have to travel out of the area to get the specialized care they need and deserve.”

Dr. Klink photo

Dr. Joesph Klink

Kris Fay, Lee Health’s chief officer of community-based care, echoes Dr. Klink's words.

“Traveling hours for check-ups, surgery, and treatments several times a week or month can take a toll on patients and their families,” she says. “Now, they will know that specialized care is available close to home.”

What are urologic cancers?

Dr. Klink says urologic cancers is an umbrella term that describes the following cancers:

  • Bladder cancer, which grows mainly in the lining of the bladder, affects nearly 82,000 men and women in the U.S. each year.
  • Renal (kidney) cancer affects more than 79,000 men and women in the U.S. each year.
  • Testicular cancer grows within the testes (male reproductive organs). It affects less than 1 percent of men.
  • Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland, a small gland in the male pelvis.
  • Penile cancer is a rare type of urologic cancer.

“Our goal is to treat cancer at its earliest stage,” Dr. Klink says. “Fortunately, most urologic cancers detected are found at early stages. Treating some cancers at an early stage has been essential to improving outcomes.”

Previously, Dr. Klink spent the past nine years as the director of urologic oncology and robotics at Deaconess Health System in Evansville, Indiana. He emphasizes that innovative technology like robotic surgery will play a pivotal role in the development of the urologic oncology center. He’s performed more than 1,000 robotic procedures.

“Robotic surgery is a bit of a misleading term,” he explains. “Let’s call it robot-assisted surgery. The surgeon remains in control at all times. Anyway, robot-assisted surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Through tiny incisions to access inside the body, I can operate with great precision and control, minimizing the pain and risk often associated with large incisions while increasing the likelihood of a fast recovery and excellent clinical outcomes.

“With robotic cancer surgery, patients can often go home the same day as surgery, instead of staying in the hospital for a week as they did in the past.”

Dr. Klink says a robotic system like the da Vinci Surgical System can help patients experience:

  • Shorter recovery time
  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Faster return to normal daily activities
  • In many cases, better clinical outcomes

“Over the next couple years, we’re aiming to build the region’s premier urologic oncology and robotics center, so all the patients of Southwest Florida have the latest technology and highest quality care, close to home.“

Dr. Klink graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center and fellowship in urologic oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urologic and Kidney Institute. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology and a member of the American Urologic Association and American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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