In most cases, prostate cancer is treatable, plus it has strong survival rates. That's the good news. However, if prostate cancer goes undetected and spreads, it could turn into bad news.
That aside, because prostate cancer is still the most common cancer among men worldwide, researchers and doctors alike are constantly looking to discover advancements in the treatment of the disease.
Read on to learn about five of the most important prostate cancer discoveries so far.
#1: Screening to detect PSA in the blood
PSA screening detects a protein known as prostate
-specific antigen (PSA), which is usually abundant in the blood of someone with prostate cancer
. PSA screening can be done alongside a digital rectal exam of the prostate
gland. The one downside to PSA screening is that it can sometimes produce false positives due to other medical conditions within a patient. However, doctors are working hard at improving detection by expanding test measures.
#2: Genetic tests for drug therapy selection
Doctors have identified genetic tests, which detect specific gene mutations, as a way to personalise potential prostate cancer
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#3: Ultrasound instead of prostate cancer surgery
Using ultrasound instead of surgery can be an effective treatment for prostate cancer and have fewer side effects. This was discovered by researchers at University College Hospital in London. The nonsurgical procedure can remove small lumps instead of the entire prostate, which reduces the risk of incontinence and erectile dysfunction. What’s more, in most cases, patients are able to return home on the same day of the procedure.
#4: Development of brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is a way to get localised radiotherapy by inserting catheters into the prostate cancer tumours, which deliver radiation-emitting ‘seeds’, the Cancer Treatment
Centers of America explains.
#5: Androgen deprivation therapy combined with docetaxel
Since the 1940s, the staple treatment for metastatic prostate cancer has been androgen deprivation therapy, says the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In a study funded by the NCI, oncologists combined androgen deprivation therapy with a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel and administered it to patients with metastatic prostate cancer. They found that the combination extended the patients’ lives by about a year longer compared to those who only received androgen deprivation therapy.
For further information on these prostate cancer breakthroughs, consult your doctor.
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