In the past few decades, cancer studies have made incredible strides towards treating and curing this devastating disease. With an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, about 164,690 of those cases will be prostate cancer. Because of this staggering number, evolving technology and treatment methods are constantly being adapted to best suit the needs of individual patients. Below we have highlighted some of the latest news and developments in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment
Immunotherapy is on its way to becoming a very important player in the treatment of prostate cancer. Unlike chemotherapy, which attacks all cells (cancerous and benign), immunotherapy works by slowly building up a resistance. It is important to note that immunotherapies may not work as a cure for cancer, but rather may improve results when used in a combination strategy with other cancer treatments. The combination will ideally slow the growth of the tumors so that cancer becomes a chronic disease rather than a life-threatening one.
Advanced Strategies For Battling Prostate Cancer
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a non-invasive treatment that uses a high intensity ultrasound wave, focused on the prostate. This non-invasive option does not require incisions, allowing you to return back to normalcy as soon as possible. Unlike other treatments, HIFU is planned and performed by a urologist. HIFU is the ideal prostate cancer treatment for many patients because it has very few side effects and can be repeatedly performed. It allows patients with prostate cancer to attain a higher quality of life and more freedom post-treatment.
T Cell-Stimulating Vaccine
For this strategy, patients’ white blood cells are collected and exposed to a tumor protein to stimulate them before being returned to the patient’s bloodstream. This therapeutic vaccine approach activates tumor-specific T cells to fight cancer. This strategy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating advanced prostate cancer and is already being used in the clinic under the brand name Provenge.
Drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors are FDA-approved to treat a variety of cancers, including melanoma, bladder cancer, and Hodgkin lymphoma. Checkpoint inhibitors work by blocking the signals that shut down cancer-killing immune responses, allowing immune cells to rev up to kill cancer cells. Although checkpoint inhibitors aren’t yet FDA-approved for prostate cancer, several ongoing clinical trials are testing them. These trials are using checkpoint inhibitors in combination with standard prostate cancer drugs.
New Technology For Prostate Cancer Imaging
New technologies for prostate tumor imaging are being developed to help doctors detect tumors more effectively. One of the strategies involves the use of a “multiparametric MRI.” This complex MRI-imaging technique combines multiple types of MRI phases to create a 3-D image of a prostate. The various stages help highlight areas of likely tumor activity and indicate exactly where the doctor should place biopsy needles to collect tissue. Advances in MRI imaging may help reduce the chances of a biopsy missing a small tumor. Although advanced, multiparametric MRIs still have a way to go.
Prostate Cancer Research
Genetic testing is on the rise in prostate cancer care. New data on mutations in DNA-repair genes is emerging, allowing doctors to get a better image of the cancer they are dealing with. Understanding these gene mutations and their reactions to certain drugs, such as chemotherapy and PARP inhibitors, is imperative in treating this disease. Doctors are now trying to actively maximize on these findings, not only for patients but also for their family members. Research has shown that mutations in certain genes, which can be passed on from parent to child, are now known to occur in men with advanced prostate cancer at rates much higher than anyone had previously thought. Scientists are now using this insight for detecting the possibility of cancer in family members in the future.
Regular exercise lowers your risk of developing many cancers, including prostate cancer. If you have already developed prostate cancer, how does exercise help? Exercise has been shown to have numerous benefits, from lowered anxiety to improved self-esteem in men who are being treated for prostate cancer. Various studies have also linked regular exercise to a slower growth rate for tumors and improved survival rates. Cancer survivors are encouraged to return to regular physical activity as soon as possible after treatment.
Prostate Cancer Treatment in New Jersey
Cancer is a disease that unfortunately affects millions of American families each year. Recent advancements in technology are now giving doctors a new way to approach the treatment of cancer. If you or someone you know is suffering from prostate, testicular, bladder, or kidney cancer, we are here for you. Dr. Ron Israeli is a board-certified urologist and prostate cancer specialist located in Livingston, New Jersey. Contact us at 973-251-2055 for a consultation and let us help you beat cancer.