Is There an Advanced Prostate Cancer Cure?

Is there an advanced prostate cancer cure?

Advanced Prostate Cancer CureEvery cancer patient hopes their cancer can be cured. Depending on the patient, prostate cancer can present itself in different ways. Prostate cancer is generally a very slow-moving disease that can take years to show symptoms, if it ever shows at all. Diagnosed men have a much greater chance of cure if they choose to pursue therapy. Some of them are able to do active surveillance. Other men, however, have a more aggressive disease that may spread beyond the prostate. The question becomes, can this type of aggressive prostate cancer be cured?

When the disease spreads beyond the prostate it becomes more difficult to manage. In early stage prostate cancer, before spreading to the lymph nodes, most of the cancer can be removed by surgery or other treatments. However, once the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, it becomes much more difficult to target. A small percentage of men are able to be cured if their cancer has only spread to the lymph nodes. Treatments for this stage of prostate cancer include hormone deprivation and radiation.

If prostate cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes and to, for example, the bones, the treatment changes from curative to determining treatments that allow a man to live as long as possible. There is currently no advanced prostate cancer cure. Several new drugs have gone on the market recently to help prostate cancers that are at this stage. The next step in the research process is to combine drugs that help to prolong life with newer drugs in an attempt to find a cure for these advanced prostate cancers that have spread beyond the lymph nodes.

 

Farshid Dayyani:  Advanced prostate cancer has progressed beyond the actual prostate gland and the question is, are we still able to cure prostate cancer at that stage?

Prostate cancer has a very variable disease course with some patients having a very slow growing disease even if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate and other ones have very aggressive disease course, so the question whether we can cure the patient will primarily depend on what kind of prostate cancer they have.  In the so called local region, all progression meaning the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis, there is still a real fraction of the patients that can be cured with a combination of radiotherapy and hormone deprivation therapy.

Once the disease has progressed to further stage, for example involving the bones or other organs then our goal unfortunately at this point is to prolong survival and we are having more and more drugs approved recently to help us with that goal.  Obviously, the next step of research for us is to start to combine these newly developed drugs to see whether we can achieve a real cure in a subset of those patients with very advanced prostate cancer.

Farshid Dayyani
Dr. Dayyani earned his medical degree in Munich, Germany at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet before completing his internal medicine internship and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.
Farshid Dayyani

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