CLEVELAND, Ohio - Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. While some will require harsh therapies, many men will have cancers that grow slowly and don't need to be treated right away, or at all. Until now, it's been a waiting game.
Mike Lewis and Don Buck both have prostate cancer. Doctors told Lewis to watch his tumor, but wait on treatment.
"He said that in the mean-time I'm looking at this as something that [I'll] probably die with, and not of," Lewis said.
But Buck's cancer became aggressive.
"I had my prostate removed," Buck told Ivanhoe.
Cleveland Clinic Urologist Dr. Eric Klein says these kinds of patients are difficult to identify at diagnosis.
However, now there's a new way. It's called genomics. First, patients have a biopsy. Then, the test measures which genes are in the tumor.
"We can tell from that little amount of cancer how aggressive the cancer is," Klein said.
As many as half of all prostate cancers in the U.S. are low-risk. About 100,000 of men in this category undergo treatment, even though there's only a three-percent chance their disease will progress or become life-threatening.
"We now have the capacity to more accurately look someone in the eye and say, ‘Yeah, you do have a cancer, but it isn't anything to worry about,'" Klein explained.
It's a simple test that could save a life or spare a patient from harsh therapies.
This same method has been used for years to help predict if chemotherapy is necessary for breast cancer patients who undergo surgery. Doctor Klein says he believes there will one day be a similar test for all types of cancer.
For more information about the genomics test, log onto genomichealth.com.
Prostate cancer affects hundreds of thousands of men each year in the U.S. This disease only affects men, but can be very deadly if not caught in enough time. The disease progresses slowly, so slow that doctors may not even catch it until it has taken a life. (Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150086.php)
RISK FACTORS: There are no known causes of prostate cancer, but there are some risk factors that doctors warn their patients about. Though doctors do not understand the exact cause of prostate cancer, they do know that it is caused by the change in DNA of a prostate cell. Some risk factors of developing prostate cancer can be altered or changed, while others cannot. Risk factors including smoking, diet, weight and STIs can be changed or treated to help prevent the development of prostate cancer but family history, age, race, genes, and nationality are some that cannot be controlled. (Source: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-risk-factors)
SYMPTOMS: Prostate cancer is a slow-moving process, but in its advanced stages, symptoms of prostate cancer can include:
- Blood in urine
- Issues in urinating
- Discomfort in pelvic area
- Pain in thighs, lower back, and hips
- Decreased force in stream of urine (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prostate-cancer/DS00043/DSECTION=symptoms)
DR KLEIN: "This particular company also has a test on the market for colon cancer. They have some interesting data that was developed here on kidney cancer and other companies are doing other sorts of things. There isn't a clinical trial for this now so this test is commercially available now. And it's available to any doctor, but it's mostly for urologists. If a patient is interested in this they should go to the General Health. Com website and read about it, ask the urologist about it. If they decide that they want to do the test the urologist's office will enter the order at the company's website. The company will contact the pathologist that has the biopsy slides and get that and then report back to the urologist. All they have to do is ask."
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