New Therapies, Better Coordinated Treatment Needed for Prostate Cancer, Specialists Say
There is an "urgent" need for new prostate cancer therapies and better coordination of treatment for the disease in part because of an increase in the number of men entering the primary risk age for the disease, according to a report written by 24 prostate cancer specialists, the Washington Times reports. The "Report to the Nation on Prostate Cancer," published by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, estimates that 230,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with the disease in 2004, and the number of new cases will increase to more than 300,000 annually by 2012. Prostate cancer is the nation's most commonly diagnosed nonskin cancer, and according to American Cancer Society data, it is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among men.
To manage the disease, efforts to coordinate care among urologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists are "crucial," but "[m]any patients are not made aware of a multidisciplinary team approach until their cancer has progressed to a late stage," according to the report. The report recommends further research to distinguish between aggressive, fast-growing prostate cancers and less aggressive, slow-growing ones. In addition, it recommends that researchers focus on developing new therapies for advanced prostate cancer. "Right now, we have only one chemical agent that benefits patients whose [prostate] cancer has spread to the bones. Meanwhile, there are five or six different drugs for patients with advanced breast cancer, and three or four drugs for those with [advanced] colon cancer," Dr. Michael Carducci, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and an author of the report, said (Howard Price, Washington Times, 9/24). The report is available online.