In Ireland, 3,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually. One in three of these cases will be aggressive cancers, and around 500 men die from this disease here every year.
The Irish Cancer Society has been funding research in the past year, which came to fruition with a new way to identify and measure the aggressiveness of a patient’s cancer that has proved to be more accurate than current clinical assessments. The test could mean that more men are spared radiotherapy and surgery if their test results show that it would be unnecessary.
Statistics show that in Ireland, prostate cancer is a diagnosis for up to 3500 men every year. Though many of those being low-grade non-aggressive forms of the cancer, it is also diagnosed as more aggressive form of cancer, meaning harsh treatments which can lead to urinary and sexual problems.
The research was led by UCD’s cancer biology Professor William Watson who declared in the Medical Oncology journal: “Using 156 Irish prostate cancer patient samples, we combined different biomarkers to see if they were more effective at measuring how aggressive the patient’s prostate cancer was. A biomarker is an indicator of the presence of diseases in our bodies and includes changes in our DNA and proteins.
“We found that, when you combine the biomarkers measured in blood and tumor tissue you more accurately determine which patients have low-grade and aggressive disease. We also used a new mathematical formula to analyse the data, and it’s hoped this formula can be applied to other cancers to better understand how aggressive they are. »
When asked when this breakthrough could be used in medicine, Professor Watson said “This article is related to the discovery of the panel and we are not applying for funding to validate the panel in independent patient cohorts from Ireland and Internationally. Once this is completed, we would then be in a position to role out into a clinical trial to test the impact of the panel of patients outcome so it will be another 6-8 years before we would see the test in clinical practice if we can validate the findings.
” The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.”
Next week marks the beginning of Men’s Health Awareness Month; during which people grow moustaches in support and funding cancer resarch. Movember, a contraction of the words Moustache and November, is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.
And on the 23rd November, the “MoRun”; a charity run marathon which aims at raising money for men’s health, partnering with the Movember Foundation; will take place in Phoenix Park. This is proving once more than not only scientists can do something to improve men’s health, as this year will be the tenth anniversary of the event.
The future holds a great deal of promises to help reduce the cost and harshness of prostate cancer treatments.