Prostate Cancer Patients See Benefit to Program
Evanston, IL (Vocus) June 15, 2009 -- Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. Every three minutes, a man in the United States is diagnosed with prostate cancer, and every 20 minutes a man dies from the disease. But recent studies show men are often diagnosed and treated unnecessarily.
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening helps to identify 80% of new cases in an early, curable stage. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland, and the test measures the level of PSA in the blood. More men are cured of prostate cancer each year because physicians are detecting the disease in an early stage through PSA screening. Conversely, PSA screening may often result in men being over diagnosed and unnecessarily treated for the disease, which is usually very slow growing
All prostate cancer treatments may result in debilitating side effects, including urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is conducting the only prostate cancer active surveillance clinical trial in the Chicago area and one of only a few in the U.S. Men enrolling in this institutionally approved trial are followed closely without initial treatment with the expectation to intervene if the cancer progresses.
Charles B. Brendler, MD, Co-Director of the NorthShore University HealthSystem Prostate Cancer Center, says, "Prostate cancer is generally a slow growing disease. After age 75, you may do more harm than good in screening men for prostate cancer because, when an early cancer is found, men may feel compelled to seek treatment. As a result, they often end up with serious side effects and no gain in terms of survival."
Dr. Brendler refers to the results of the American and European prostate cancer screening trials published in the March 26, 2009, issue of New England Journal of Medicine. Both trials found that PSA screening did not reduce deaths from prostate cancer during the first 10 years after screening was begun. He says, "The European investigators estimated that you have to diagnose and treat approximately 48 men in order to prevent one man from dying from the disease.
Dr. Brendler continues, "Each treatment is associated with its own set of risks. Whether it is surgery, radiation or hormone therapy, treatment can profoundly affect a man's quality of life. If we can tell which cancers are non-aggressive and can be followed safely without treatment, we can spare many men unnecessary side effects."
In this trial, patients will be monitored every three months with several new prostate cancer tests that may be more accurate than PSA. Physicians will also look at the impact of behavioral modification and dietary changes on cancer progression and quality of life. Dr. Brendler adds, "The active surveillance protocol is unique because we have a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and scientists who are working together to identify the risk of progression and guide therapy."
To be eligible for the Active Surveillance Protocol, men must meet the following requirements:
The NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute focuses on clinical and translational research, including leadership in outcomes research and clinical trials. The NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation is a leading philanthropic entity of NorthShore. It raises charitable contributions, engages volunteer friends and invests in community partnerships.
NorthShore has annual revenues of $1.5 billion and a staff of more than 8,000. The HealthSystem has significant capabilities in a wide spectrum of clinical programs, including cancer, heart, orthopaedics, high-risk maternity and pediatrics. NorthShore is a national leader in the implementation of innovative technologies, including electronic medical records, (EMR ). In 2003, the HealthSystem was among the first in the country to successfully launch a system wide EMR with demonstrable benefits in quality, safety, efficiency and service to patients. NorthShore has been recognized by multiple national organizations for this notable achievement.
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