‘Silent disease’: new treatment for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, with more than 280,000 diagnoses estimated by the National Cancer Institute by 2023. However, promising new therapies and updated testing guidelines are improving patient outcomes.

“Prostate cancer accounts for nearly 27% of new cancer diagnoses and more than 10% of cancer deaths in men,” said a urological oncologist and associate professor of surgery at the Uniformed Service University College of Health Sciences. Dr. Gregory Chesnut said. “This is a very real disease.”

New Treatment Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

According to Chesnutt, two recent advances in prostate cancer treatment may lead to improved outcomes for patients. One is to use prostate-specific membrane antigen protein imaging to more accurately detect cancer cells outside the prostate.

“Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer and to guide first-line treatment of certain high-risk prostate cancers,” Chesnut said. “It is now widely available across the United States.”

A second new advance is radiotherapy for metastatic prostate cancer, where cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body. A drug that uses small amounts of radiation to kill cancer cells was approved by the FDA in March 2022, according to Dr. Kevin Banks, a radiologist and nuclear medicine physician at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

“It moves through the bloodstream and seeks out prostate cells anywhere in the body,” Banks said. “It binds to the prostate-specific membrane antigen protein on the surface of prostate cancer cells and emits minute doses of radiation. It kills cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue intact.”

Prostate Cancer Survival Rates Are Higher Among Military Health Care Beneficiaries

In addition to new treatments, the USUHS study brings good news for men undergoing prostate cancer treatment within MHS. The study found that the 5-year survival rate for end-stage prostate cancer was higher in MHS recipients than in the general population.

“Ultimately, all men across all age groups and ethnicities within MHS, regardless of whether they had high-risk or high-stage prostate cancer, performed better,” Chesnut said. Stated.

“The morbidity was the same whether we were treated inside or outside the MHS, but the outcome was better. I think so,” Chesnut said. “We have fully screened our patients, have access to primary care for appropriate testing and counseling, and access to specialty care. treatments, often all in the same building.”

Banks believe that even better results are possible.

“The results are certainly positive and show the quality of care provided by the Defense and Health Agency,” he said. “The data will be old [the medicine] Now that its use in MHS has begun, we hope that follow-up studies will show further improvements in 5-year survival among beneficiaries. ”

Changes to test guidelines

Chesnutt said changes in prostate cancer screening guidelines and a new understanding of how to treat prostate cancer early are also helping patients.

“Testing is important because prostate cancer is treatable and curable if detected early and is confined to the prostate,” Chesnutt said. “Our aim is curative treatment and we have had great results.”

But Chestnut said the primary screening test for prostate cancer, the prostate-specific antigen test, wasn’t recommended until 2012-2018.

“For patients and doctors, when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the instinct is that they need to go to the general ward and get it treated,” Chesnutt said. “Prior to 2012, sometimes patients were getting treatment when they didn’t need it. Now we know that not all prostate cancer needs to be treated. Timely diagnosis of prostate cancer maximizes patient service: “We know which cancers need urgent treatment and which can be safely monitored. Accurately identify: individualized treatment decisions and use of the latest technology for individualized treatment planning is best for each patient.”

The US Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that men aged 55 to 69 make an individual decision about prostate cancer screening after discussing the benefits and harms with their physician.

Chestnut recommends making prostate cancer screening a regular part of the men’s health conversation, much like mammography is for women. “Prostate cancer doesn’t make headlines, so it’s easy to talk about the past. It’s kind of a silent disease.”

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