One in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the most common cancer diagnosed in men besides skin cancer.
A physical exam and a blood test to establish a baseline PSA (prostate-specific antigen) score help decrease prostate cancer mortality by 44 percent.
The test is important because prostate cancer may not cause symptoms in early stages. More advanced prostate cancer may cause trouble urinating, blood in urine, swelling in your legs and discomfort in the pelvic area.
When cancer is detected, treatment often includes the surgical removal of the prostate, followed by radiation therapy andhormone treatments to reduce blood levels of testosterone, the hormone that fuels the cancer’s growth.
However, most prostate cancer will eventually become resistant to hormone treatments. Once this happens, the next line of treatment has typically been chemotherapy.
New medications for prostate cancer
The good news is two new pills have been approved for people who have become resistant to hormone treatments, instead of having to start chemotherapy.
Both medications – Zytiga (abiraterone) and Xtaudi (enzalutamide) – are designed to inhibit the production of androgen in the testes, adrenal glands and prostate cancer tumors themselves. Androgens are male hormones that attach to and activate androgen receptors, which may result in the cancer cells dividing and growing.
A recent study by the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University found the drug enzalutamide increased survival by 29 percent and delayed disease progression by 81 percent in men who hadn’t received chemotherapy treatments.
These new drugs help men with prostate cancer maintain a higher quality of life.
Baptist Health Line available 24/7
If you have questions about prostate cancer, phone Baptist Health Line at 270.575.2918.
– Oncologist Charles Winker, MD, FACP