New Prostate Cancer Treatment Options


Let’s talk about some of the new treatments
that are coming down the pike in prostate cancer. The kind of the time on a treatment for prostate
cancer has been, we call radical prostatectomy and that’s removing the prostate. That actually
dates back to the early 1900s and then radiation was introduced, they treat prostate cancer,
you know decades later and both of these techniques have been refined a lot, radiation and surgery,
what else is there. Freezing cryotherapy, that has been around for a long time to treat
cancers, you know usually they treat skin cancers and what people used to do is that
deliver liquid nitrogen through tubes to the prostate and you could freeze it. That was
kind of really early treatments with a lot of side effects and kind of barbaric in way
and now what you can do is you can put in small probes, the size of soda straws or smaller
than that actually, you know big needles and you can circulate argon gas through it and
then when the gas expands through an opening, it freezes and even get down to negative 70
and negative 80 centigrade, and if you get down to the negative 40 or negative 20 twice,
you can kill almost any cell basically and so it is just a matter of putting these probes
in the prostate, monitoring them, and using ultrasound to look at it. It works very well,
it is outpatient, it is simple and you can also have heaters too so that you can protect
nerves with, by putting helium through these and helium when it expands, it heats, so we
got heat coolers and heaters and that is actually a good way to treat a lot of prostate cancers
in men that have failed radiation. It just has not caught on in the United States that
there was a lot of controversy earlier on with it. Another new exciting way is to use
a high intensity focused ultrasound, so if you take a magnifying lens and you look at
the sun in a piece of paper, you burn a hole, so if you focus ultrasound in the prostate,
you can do the same thing. And you do it through transrectally, you just go through and you
just kind of paint the prostate, starting up at the top. The limitations are size of
the prostate, you can’t do with prostates and so forth and you can damage the urethra
and that so, studies ongoing with that. There are also ways to actually produce electricity
in the prostate and ablate this with electroporation and that’s some exciting things, so there
is whole bunch of other things out there beside surgery and radiation that are coming down
the pike. Some prostate cancers are high risk, aggressive,
and more likely to spread. Others are low risk, least likely to have bad outcomes. The
biopsy says cancer, but current diagnostic tools provide limited information about how
aggressive a man’s individual disease is, so most men decide to treat prostrate cancer
immediately. Once treated, many men experience serious long-term side effects like incontinence
and sexual impotence. Immediate treatment is not always needed, but right now a man
can’t be sure if his cancer is the kind that is likely to require treatment or if he is
okay to wait for now. What if there was a test that could determine how aggressive prostate
cancer is. Genomic health is developing a new test to do just that. By reviewing the
underlying biology of the tumor and using genes from multiple biologic pathways, the
test can predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer when diagnosed, allowing a man to make
a more informed treatment decision with confidence, taking care of himself with more information
and greater peace of mind.