Prostate cancer is generally treatable with excellent survival rates, which is good news, but if the prostate cancer goes undetected it could turn into bad news quickly if it spreads.
Still, since prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, doctors and researchers are looking to discover advancements in the treatment of the disease.
Here are five noteworthy discoveries that made prostate cancer news:
1. The PSA screening
The PSA, also known as prostate-specific antigen, is a protein. This protein is often abundant in the blood of someone with prostate cancer.
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Since the PSA screening can produce some false positives due to other medical conditions within a patient, doctors are working to improve detection by expanding testing measures, which have produced more accurate tests such as the phi, 4Kscore, Progensa, TMPRSS2:ERG, and the ConfirmMDx, according to the American Cancer Society
The screening can be done alongside a digital rectal exam of the prostate gland.
2. Ultrasound prostate cancer treatment
Researchers at University College Hospital in London found that using ultrasound instead of surgery can be an effective treatment for prostate cancer and have fewer side effects, according to Medical News Today
This nonsurgical technique can remove small lumps instead of the entire prostate decreasing the possibility of erectile dysfunction and incontinence. In most cases, with this treatment patients are able to return home the same day of the procedure.
3. Adding docetaxel to hormone therapy
Androgen deprivation therapy has been the staple treatment for metastatic prostate cancer since the 1940s, according to the National Cancer Institute
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In an NCI-funded study, oncologists combined the chemotherapy drug docetaxel with ADT and administered it to patients with metastatic prostate cancer.
Test results showed the combination treatment extended the lives of patients approximately a year longer compared to those patients who only received ADT.
4. Development of brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is a way to get localized radiotherapy by inserting catheters into the tumor which deliver radiation-emitting "seeds," according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America
5. Genetic test helps with medicine selection
By identifying specific gene mutations, doctors may have found a way to personalize potential prostate cancer drug therapies.
"This is a clinical test that we can do in real time for patients. The results come back in four to six weeks, so it is feasible to identify clinically actionable mutations and enroll patients in clinical trials with medicines that target that mutation," Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Dr. Wassim Abida, a member of the International Prostate Cancer Dream Team that developed the "MSK-IMPACT" test, told the Prostate Cancer Foundation
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