The Doctor Is In: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Content is sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System 
 
HENRY FORD EXPERT: 
Shaheen Alanee, M.D.  
 Urologist, Henry Ford Vattikuti Urology Institute 


Among men in the U.S., prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer-related death. More than 180,000 men are diagnosed per year, and approximately 29,000 die from the disease. Fortunately, those statistics may be much lower in the near future, thanks to recent advancements in treatment for both localized and metastatic prostate cancer.  
Dr. Shaheen Alanee, urologist at Henry Ford Vattikuti Urology Institute, explains some of the newer therapies that are adding years to the lives of prostate cancer patients.  

LOCALIZED VERSUS METASTATIC PROSTATE CANCER 

Localized prostate cancer is just within the prostate.  
Metastatic prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate and is now affecting other organs. 
Prostate cancer starts out localized, but can progress to metastatic.  
Some people are genetically predisposed to become metastatic. 
Genetic screening allows urologists to determine who is predisposed to develop metastatic cancer. 
Men with a family history of prostate cancer, or those who have had any other metastatic cancer in their life, should consider genetic screening.  
Localized prostate cancer can be cured in most cases.  
Metastatic prostate cancer must be treated with systemic therapies, which circulate throughout the body to attack cancer cells wherever they may be. 
This is because the cancer has moved into other locations in the body, and is no longer localized in the prostate. 
 

TREATMENTS FOR LOCALIZED CANCER 

Active Surveillance 
Appropriate for prostate cancer that is low-risk and unlikely to be harmful or decrease life expectancy. 
This is a suitable option for approximately 50 percent of men with prostate cancer. 
Active surveillance is a strategy to treat the prostate cancer only if and when treatment is necessary. 

Hormone Ablation 
Prostate cells are testosterone driven.  
When the cells become cancerous, testosterone is the fuel the cells need to keep multiplying. 
Hormonal ablation stops the body from producing testosterone, which stops the cancer cells from using testosterone as a fuel source. 
This treatment is used for both localized and metastatic cancer. 

Focal Therapies 
Preserves sexual function and urinary continence. 
Allows doctors to treat just the diseased part of the prostate and leaves the healthy parts of the prostate unaffected. 
They are mostly experimental at this point in time  

 

TREATMENTS FOR METASTATIC CANCER 

In the past, the life expectancy for a metastatic prostate cancer patient was 2 years. Treatment was usually one line of hormonal ablation, then chemotherapy. 
Today, the life expectancy for a metastatic prostate cancer patient is 6.5 years. Treatment is usually hormonal ablation, a second line of hormonal ablation, then chemotherapy.  
If a patient is healthy enough, chemotherapy may be the first step.  
New drugs are being used in minimally-metastatic prostate cancer. 
Oral hormonal ablation drugs, recently approved by FDA, are making it possible for some metastatic prostate cancer patients to live up to 10 years, versus what was previously two years.  

 

INCREASING ACCESS TO CARE 

According to the most recent census (2010), 40 percent of Dearborn's residents are Arab American, which is the largest percentage of any city in America.   
Arab Language Access Clinic 
Increasing access for those who speak Arabic as their primary language.  
Arabic-speaking individuals may call (313) 717-8680 and speak to a patient navigator, who will coordinate their care in Arabic and connect them with an Arabic speaking care team. 

 

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