WHEELING Urologic oncologist Dr. Gregory Merrick, director of Wheeling Hospital's Schiffler Cancer Center, has been selected as one of only 12 physicians in the U.S. as a Fellow in the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS).
Merrick also serves as the director of the hospital's Men's Health Center and Urologic Research Institute.
Dr. Steven Frank, president of the ABS, said Merrick's election was based on his "fine career and to his accomplishments and contributions to the field of brachytherapy and to the ABS."
Under Merrick's direction, the Schiffler Cancer Center has established an international reputation in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, having treated patients from 42 U.S. states and 17 countries.
Merrick is a nationally recognized uro-oncology expert. He is the past president and chairman of the board of the ABS. He also is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology, where he served as chairman of the Prostate Cancer Appropriateness Committee.
He has been the genito-urinary section editor of the journal Brachytherapy and has served as a manuscript reviewer for 16 peer-reviewed scientific oncologic and urologic journals.
Merrick also is a member of the Best Doctors of America. He has been in the association's database since 1998.
He has published hundreds of original scientific studies on urologic cancer, co-authored two textbooks and lectured across the U.S. and abroad.
His research has advanced brachytherapy patient selection and technique, prostate biopsy, treatment and post-operative management.
Merrick also has evaluated mechanisms of erectile dysfunction and participated in large studies evaluating investigational drugs for end-stage prostate cancer.
In conjunction with his colleague, Dr. Kent Wallner at the University of Washington, Merrick has completed three prospective randomized prostate brachytherapy trials evaluating efficacy and quality of life. Brachytherapy involves the injection of permanent radioactive seeds into the prostate gland. They give off a low dose of radiation over several weeks or months, and remain in the prostate gland permanently
Merrick also is director of the Cryosurgery Services at Wheeling Hospital, which offers a new, minimally invasive therapy for treating kidney cancer. Cryosurgery uses very cold temperatures to treat cancer and is a mainstay therapy for a wide variety of conditions. It is equivalent to surgical removal of part of the kidney for early stage kidney cancer.
Merrick has developed innovative prostate biopsy techniques that have resulted in improved prostate cancer diagnostic accuracy. These biopsy techniques have impacted patient selection criteria for active surveillance. For patients with documented slow growing cancer, treatment is no longer necessary.
Merrick is deeply involved with the Wheeling community. To raise awareness of men's health issues, Merrick created the Cancer Research Classic (CRC). First held in 2008, the event showcases top high school basketball players from across the country. It also provides an opportunity to promote men's health awareness.
Tournament participants and attendees receive information on prostate cancer, BPH, testicular cancer and overall wellness.