This year almost 220,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The greatly debated question by the medical community is what is the next step after diagnosis?
Thousands of men go through surgery and/or radiation therapy each year for prostate cancer but research is showing that only about 15 percent may have needed surgery.
These sometimes necessary but radical medical choices to battle prostate cancer have enormous risks and can cause incontinence and impotence.
Current tests such as physical digital testing and the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) can detect tumors and the cancer antigen but these tests can’t evaluate the “risk” factor of certain prostate cancers. The PSA test has saved thousands of lives but has also given readings prompting biopsies when no cancers or less aggressive cancers are found.
Enter the world of genetic testing. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Melinda Beck genetic testing is being shown as a tremendous tool in evaluating how aggressive certain cancers can be and will be the testing of choice very soon.
At the University of Michigan scientists have identified 24 different prostate cancers with varying degrees of aggression. The DNA signatures of these cancers can be read like store bar codes. Harvard Medical has found a specific gene that causes cancers to spread.
The Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, through genetics, has found a way to identify low and high-risk prostate cancers.
Some researchers have zeroed in on what are known as gene fusions. In gene fusions DNA from some genes get involved with other genes and alter their functions.
Two of the 24 types of cancers discovered at the University of Michigan involved the same gene. This gene is known as the RAF gene and is the same gene involved in malignant melanoma skin cancers.
Treatment for prostate cancers is moving ahead if not rapidly, at a very steady pace. Several drugs that show some effect against the RAF gene are already in trials.
About 50 percent of the classified prostate cancers in these studies are slow growing and another 20% or so could cause problems. The most aggressive types account for about 10 to 15% of the cancers identified so far.
All of these studies and research is on the verge of producing new ways of testing for prostate cancer but more important it will provide tests to gauge the aggressiveness of these cancers. These new tests will look at biomarkers, proteins, molecules, genes and mutations to help categorize the cancer type.
They will be using imaging techniques that not only tracks the chemical changes in tissue but can see cancers within the prostate and identify fast or slow growing tumors.
More progress is being made on “liquid biopsies” such as blood and urine testing.
There is a gene called the PCA3 that shows up in the urine only when a man has prostate cancer. The test has been approved in Europe and is in the investigation stage here in the United States.
There is also evidence that statin drugs, used for lowering cholesterol, may have a role in controlling the spread of some types of prostate cancer.
The research, the studies and the findings are all very exciting advances in helping to identify and combat prostate cancer but in every article and study the importance of a nutritional diet and exercise were also presented.
Never underestimate the power you have over sickness and disease. There are certainly genetic and hereditary factors involved in the battle to be healthy but the “bad” stuff is only amplified when you choose to not take care of your health.
We can help with nutrition, exercise and keep you on track. Call us at (888) 348-9856, get on the website fitnessroad.com, e-mail us at email@example.com or you can come by the Fitness Road Wellness Center in Tempe Arizona, just off the I-10 on Baseline.
God Bless you and yours,
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