American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer

June 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

The American Cancer Society doesn’t actually do the research by itself, but it encourages and sponsors the research of various scientists and doctors around the country, and even across the world, helping to publish and publicize their results so that everyone can learn and benefit from it. Prostate cancer for instance has so many questions that are unanswered, and so many aspects that are poorly understood, which the ACS is helping with.

The staging of prostate cancer after diagnosis, for instance, plays a key role in figuring out which treatment choices are best for recently diagnosed patient. CT scans and MRIs do a great job as it were, but they can’t find all cancers, especially cancers in lymph nodes. As such, a new type of enhanced MRI is being explored as a potential for making staging easier. Early results naturally look good, but it will definitely require a lot more time and study before it becomes widely used.

Treatment is also another critical thing about prostate cancer that needs to be improved upon. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormonal treatments, and all of them all have their uses, but they also all have their limitations. This is therefore a very active area of research in which newer treatments are constantly being developed and current treatment methods being improved.

Nerve sparring and the possibility of using grafts to correct nerve damage during surgery is one experimental protocol in study; improvements on radiation therapy such as intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and proton therapy are also being looked at, towards treating just the cancer without harming other cells and tissues in the body; while newer treatments for early prostate cancer are also in the works, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which destroys cancer cells by heating them with highly focused ultrasonic beams; and cryosurgery, which destroys the cancer cells by freezing them.

One other active area of the American Cancer Society Prostate cancer research is considering how nutrition and lifestyle changes may help treat or prevent the disease. One recent study for instance found that pomegranate juice helped to lower rising PSA after surgery or radiation therapy in men treated for the condition; while another one is exploring how flaxseed supplements tend to slow the rate at which prostate cancer cells multiply.

Basically, the main challenge with research is the constant need for more research to confirm findings, and as mentioned earlier, this takes time. However, if that time can save the thousands of men that continue to die from prostate cancer every year, and the thousands more that have to live with impotence or incontinence as a result of treatment side effects, then by all means the American Cancer Society should keep on with the work they do.

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