Most men with prostate cancer were trying to enjoy retired life when the first heard the words, “it’s cancer.” Every cancer diagnosis is scary, though cancer localized to the prostate is associated with a very good overall prognosis. When cancer is detected early and prior to any spread, 95 percent of patients are alive 15 years later. Such positive outcomes are the result of promoting regular prostate screenings to older men along with a variety of treatment advances – medical and surgical. When prostate cancer has already spread to other areas at diagnosis, the treatment scenario is more challenging. Today’s standard protocols to treat metastatic prostate cancer include approaches approved only in recent years, most notably, hormone therapy and immunotherapy.
Men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer will be referred to a nearby oncologist to discuss a treatment plan based on the location and size of the cancer. Two men of the same age can have very different disease presentations. For some men, the doctor will recommend regular monitoring. In other words, no active treatment until or unless changes are detected during more routine surveillance testing. Other patients may require diagnostic scans to understand if and where the cancer has spread. For these men, there is greater urgency to initiate a care plan. After considering the proposed options and talking with loved ones, patients with more serious cases may look to second opinions and clinical trials to see what else might be available. This is a personal decision influenced by factors like where a person lives, support system availability, and other health related concerns.
Early detection for prostate cancer is largely rooted in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings, adopted starting in the 1990s. This blood test is a tool to help find prostate cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. Along with better understanding of the disease and prevention strategies, many other advances have helped enhance patient quality of life while on this journey. These include higher quality imaging to assist in diagnosis, more precise radiation to limit risk to other organs, and hormone-based therapies for metastatic cancer. All of these improvements are the result of clinical trial participation by other patients many months and years earlier.
Clinical research offers its participants access to new, investigational options. For patients with prostate cancer, there are numerous recruiting trials, each looking at a unique aspect of the disease from prevention to diagnosis and treatment. New trials open all the time, each seeking participants using different sets of criteria and requirements. Register here to receive updates about new recruiting trials and research opportunities for prostate cancer.
A variety of articles on topics of interest to those diagnosed with prostate cancer.