In Australia, approximately 20,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually, making it a prevalent type of cancer among men. While many cases can be successfully treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy, the disease can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, making it more difficult to treat.
That’s why recent research by Dr. Katie Owen and her team at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria is so exciting. They have discovered a new method to possibly arrest the spread of prostate cancer cells, which could significantly improve outcomes for patients.
Groundbreaking research on prostate cancer progression
Dr. Katie Owen’s research focuses on building up an immune signaling pathway that unfortunately gets suppressed when prostate cancer cells reach the bones, allowing the cells to quietly develop. The researchers used a molecule called microRNA-194 to inhibit the production of a protein that is responsible for enabling the cells to invade the bone.
“Prostate cancer is different to other cancers. It’s unique in the way it metastasises because it almost always goes to the bone, which makes it even more challenging to treat effectively,” Dr Owen said.
“With many of the most deadly forms of prostate cancer, the cancer cells trigger a protein which makes them invisible to the immune system, turning off the immune response that would ordinarily stop the cancer growth. This is where it gets tricky for the body, because the body can’t fight what it can’t see.”
The team aims to use blood tests as a way to properly gauge if a patient’s bones are already at risk of getting hit by metastasised cancer cells. News of the research breakthrough came as a shock to a Queenslander father who undertook a PSA blood test back in 2017 and the results suddenly revealed he already had Stage IV prostate cancer.
Dr. Owen’s work has already received recognition and support from leading medical and scientific institutions in Australia and around the world. The research team is pushing forward with help from two Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia grants. While this research is still in the early stages, it offers hope for the development of more effective treatments for prostate cancer, and potentially other types of cancer as well.
Early detection and treatments
Prostate cancer can often develop without any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. That’s why it’s recommended that men over the age of 50, or those with a family history of the disease, undergo regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland, and elevated levels in the blood can be a sign of prostate cancer. A digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be recommended as part of the screening process.
While PSA testing has been shown to be effective in detecting prostate cancer, it’s not without controversy. Some studies have suggested that routine PSA testing may lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment, as many prostate cancers are slow-growing and may not cause harm in a man’s lifetime. The decision to undergo PSA testing should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, weighing the potential benefits and risks for each individual.
For those who do receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, there are a range of treatment options available. The most appropriate treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the stage of the cancer, the age and overall health of the patient, and the patient’s preferences and values. Common treatment options include surgery to remove the prostate gland, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Hormone therapy may also be used to help slow the growth of cancer.
In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle changes can also play a role in managing prostate cancer. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking can all help to improve overall health and reduce the risk of complications from prostate cancer.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
With any medical treatment, the cost of detection and treatment can be significant. For those facing the financial costs of prostate cancer treatment, an equity release solution may provide an option to help cover the expenses.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage allows homeowners aged 60 and over to access the equity in their home as a lump sum or regular income stream, without having to sell the property. This can provide an additional source of funds to help cover the costs of medical treatments and other expenses.
For further information on the workings of our reverse mortgage facility, our ASAG team is readily available to assist you. To get in touch, please feel free to contact us at 1300 002 724 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to provide you with comprehensive details and answer any questions you may have.
It’s important to carefully consider all options and seek advice from financial and medical professionals before making any decisions.
You can also do a self-assessment by using our tool below to know your available equity.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to represent official medical advice. The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no relationships with any company or medical practitioner mentioned in the article. Please consult your oncologist for detection and treatment solutions.