I have written here many times of my excitement about progress in treating blood-related cancers, so called “liquid tumors.” And, like me, many of our visitors have one of them. But many men also worry about prostate cancer. I am happy to report that here, too, there’s a lot of progress in an unfolding story.
As any doctor will tell you, most men will die WITH prostate cancer rather than FROM it. Autopsies show it in many older men. But, of course, some men get news that their PSA is elevated or the doctor feels something on a physical exam. What can follow is now, more often, “active surveillance” – biopsies MRis, and periodic repeat tests – to see if the prostate cancer is on the move. When it is, surgery and/or radiation can follow.
For some men at time of diagnosis, or years later, the story becomes more complex and scary. When the cancer has advanced outside the prostate and when traditional hormonal approaches to cut off the testosterone fuel to prostate cancer cells are no longer working, what then?
That’s where good news continues to evolve. There are several new medicines that work in different ways and can provide multiple lines of treatment and/or be combined for greater effectiveness. And then there’s chemo too, which still has a place. Recently we acquired a lot of new content from the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s “GU” medical conference in San Francisco where this was discussed. If you or someone you care about is living with prostate cancer, I urge you to have them take a look at our growing list of new programs with world experts. It’s sure to give you – or someone you love – hope. Men with advanced prostate cancer are living longer and better. And as data from new clinical trials come out, doctors are optimizing treatment and personalizing it. Of course, men with advanced prostate cancer should absolutely be seeing a specialist in this to take advantage of the latest news!
Progress against solid tumors like prostate cancer is happening.: Breast cancer, subtypes of lung cancer and melanoma, among others. We are watching those carefully. We can expect more news by June as ASCO has its big annual meeting in Chicago and other meetings will be held in Europe. Some key treatment answers aren’t in yet, but are expected in the months to come
With any cancer, the journey is a personal one, and no matter what the latest statistics show, your story may be different. But I am pleased to report that in advanced prostate cancer now there are more tools than ever, more coming, and key questions are getting answered so men can live longer and better.
My father died of this disease, so it’s a great personal interest to me. Same with other members of our Patient Power team. So we hope that 2014 will bring us a positive story that continues to unfold for you and the people you care about.