Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 6, 2014
The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. In fact, prostate cancer remains one of the most common cancers worldwide.
Many men have slow-growing prostate cancer and are successfully treated with current surgical or radiation therapies. But, there is a smaller number with high-risk prostate cancer, which has a much higher chance of returning and spreading after treatment. High-risk prostate cancer is less likely to be cured using standard therapies alone and is often seen in younger men.
“We have devoted a lot of time to studying high-risk prostate cancer to design strategies that are aimed at improving cure rates for this disease,” says Dr. Mary-Ellen Taplin, Director of Clinical Research in the Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
High-risk prostate cancer is generally defined as having a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level greater than 20 ng/ml; a Gleason score of 8, 9, or 10; and/or prostate cancer stage T3 (involving the capsule or seminal vesicles) or T4 (involving an adjacent organ).
Newer treatment approaches include the earlier use of therapies that are currently approved for men with advanced prostate cancer. Researchers also are evaluating personalized vaccine approaches that optimize each patient’s immune system to fight the disease. These treatments are provided in addition to surgery and/or radiation therapy.
“As a team, we are all working together to determine the best mix of treatments to achieve the best results,” says Dr. Adam Kibel, Surgical Director for the Center for Genitourinary Oncology and Chief of Urologic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
If you have questions about prostate cancer, speak with your doctor and visit our Prostate Cancer Education Center for more information.
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