Research Blog - Page 3

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Research Blog - Page 3

PCFA Staff

Following the update on a new surgical technique for the restoration of sexual function in men post-surgery for prostate cancer, this week we have brought two further articles on the subject that might be of interest to you.

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PCFA Staff

A significant proportion of men experience impotence after prostate surgery. Although there are drugs and devices that can help improve this condition, there remain thousands of Australian men with long-term impotence who are not helped by these options.

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Content Creator

Men living in outside metropolitan areas in Australia have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer. There is some evidence that these men are being diagnosed at a later stage, with more advanced prostate cancer. This could be improved by better awareness of prostate cancer in the countryside. A new Australian study has interviewed undiagnosed men to hear their perspectives on prostate cancer. This study has uncovered barriers to prostate cancer awareness and early detection for Australian men.

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Radium-223 (Xofigo) and Abiraterone (Zytiga) are two treatments used by Australian men with metastatic prostate cancer. Both are relatively effective and have acceptable side effect profiles. They work using different mechanisms of action. So it’s tempting to predict that taking both at once would be even better than taking one. However, results from a large clinical trial have now shown that this is a dangerous approach.

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New statistics from the Australian Government show that prostate cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer for Australian men. But a recent publication has predicted that 41% of prostate cancer diagnoses in Australia have been unnecessary. Over-diagnosis due to PSA-testing has been a controversial issue for many years. This week’s blog reports on prostate cancer diagnosis and overdiagnosis rates in Australia.

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PCOR-ANZ stands for Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry - Australia and New Zealand. This valuable initiative is funded by The Movember Foundation and run through Monash University. Numerous state governments, research institutes, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies have also contributed to the costs of data collection. The PCOR-ANZ systematically collects clinical and patient-reported outcomes data. Collecting this data allows them to report on what type of men are getting prostate cancer, what treatments they have and how they are coping during their prostate cancer journey.

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Younger men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer face many challenges. They may be fighting this disease at a busy time in their working lives, or whilst looking after a young family, or dating or trying to conceive children. Younger men with advanced prostate cancer face having their lives cut dramatically short by this disease. New research is helping to understand the nature of early-onset prostate cancer and the best strategies for management and treatment.

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 It’s an unfortunate reality that prostate surgery can be bad for your sex life. Men and their partners need better support to help them deal with changes to sex after this surgery. A new Australian study has compared two different methods of delivering support to help couples with problems having sex after surgery. This research is essential for designing support services that actually work and make a difference for these couples.

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Men with prostate cancer, who have a rising PSA despite hormone therapy, know their cancer is on the move. New treatments are needed to slow cancer growth at this stage. The successful ARAMIS clinical trial has demonstrated that Darolutamide can slow tumour progression, giving these men more time before their cancer spreads. But the path to this drug becoming available in Australia is unclear.

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A new Australian study has uncovered a weakness in prostate cancer cells. The researchers studied the energy needs of prostate cancer cells grown in the laboratory and in mice. Their results indicate that blocking fatty acid uptake may slow the progression of prostate cancer. This week’s research blog describes the latest findings, discusses fatty acids, and whether we need to avoid them.

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A cancer diagnosis is life-changing. Men with prostate cancer often react with determination, vowing to fight the disease by any means possible. Aside from mainstream medicine and surgery, there are many other therapies and lifestyle changes that claim to help prevent and treat prostate cancer. These interventions include complementary and alternative therapies. A US organisation called the National Cancer Institute have recently published extremely useful summaries of the scientific evidence surrounding many different complementary and alternative therapies for patients.

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MRI has improved the way prostate cancer is diagnosed. Many men now have an MRI scan before their biopsy to detect prostate cancer. MRI can be used to do a targeted biopsy, where the biopsy needles aim for the area where tumours appear on the scan. There has been much debate over whether targeted biopsies can replace the older, systematic biopsy technique. The MRI-FIRST study has compared the two biopsy techniques head-to-head, showing that men would benefit from both types of biopsy for prostate cancer diagnosis.

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Content Creator

Pain can be a big issue for men with prostate cancer. It can be both a symptom of the cancer and a side effect from its treatment. For men with metastatic prostate cancer, bone pain is often one of their most difficult problems. This week’s blog looks at the latest research behind pain management for men with prostate cancer.

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Some prostate cancers are more aggressive than others. They grow quickly, spread and become resistant to drugs. Developing better treatments for aggressive prostate cancers is a major research priority. Results have been published from a new study indicating an alternative to hormone signalling may be driving the growth of some aggressive prostate cancers. This study has uncovered a new way to target prostate cancer, aside from drugs that suppress testosterone.

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Our first blog this year describes the top 10 prostate cancer research stories of 2018, as judged by PCFA staff:

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Men diagnosed with localised prostate cancer often look to the newest technology for their treatment. It can be surprising to find that the latest, most technologically advanced treatments are not necessarily recommended by their specialists. This happens because it takes a long time for reliable evidence to be generated, to be sure of the success rates and side effects from the latest technologies. This week’s blog examines the success and side effects of CyberKnife, a new radiation treatment system.

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It’s unfortunate that prostate surgery does not always mean the end of prostate cancer. Rising PSA levels after surgery mean that the cancer is probably on the way back. Some men with recurrent prostate cancer can be effectively cured by radiotherapy directed to the prostate bed. But those whose disease has spread beyond this area would do better to have more extensive treatment. A new Australian study has compared three different types of scan to ask which is best at directing treatment decisions for men with rising PSA after surgery.

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Chemotherapy can be a good treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Unfortunately it takes months of treatment before the success of chemotherapy can be determined. Researchers are trying to find a good blood test biomarker as an early indicator of chemotherapy success. Major progress in this search has recently been made by Australian researchers.

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Ductal prostate cancer is a rare type of prostate cancer. Men diagnosed with ductal prostate cancer are more likely to see their cancer spread and more likely to die from it. This week’s research blog investigates what is known about ductal prostate cancer and how it’s best treated.

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Active surveillance is a common management for low-risk, localised prostate cancer in Australia. The aim is to avoid or delay treatment until it becomes necessary. Unfortunately, guidelines vary greatly for who should go on active surveillance and what tests they should have. The Movember Foundation’s GAP3 program aims to create a global consensus on selection and monitoring of men with low-risk prostate cancer. As part of this project, the GAP3 research team have recently published a study examining the reasons why men drop out of active surveillance.

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Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer that has already spread are usually treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Treatment of the tumour at the prostate site is uncommon. But recent evidence indicates that treating the prostate tumour can be helpful. A new study has demonstrated that treating the prostate tumour with radiotherapy can improve survival times, but only for men whose tumours have not spread too far.

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A key US patent for the use of Abiraterone (Zytiga) for treating metastatic prostate cancer has been ruled invalid by a US court. This could lead to cheaper versions of Abiraterone becoming available in the US. This sounds like great news for US patients. This week’s blog explores the pharmaceutical industry behind prostate cancer drugs and what this new development means for Australian patients.

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Advances in medicine, together with early detection, are helping men to survive prostate cancer and live longer after diagnosis. But living longer is not the same as living well. Long-term survivors of prostate cancer may suffer from ongoing health issues and have unmet needs in psychological and sexual support. There are numerous programs that propose to help prostate cancer survivors – but do they work? Australian researchers have reviewed the evidence behind prostate cancer survivorship programs.

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If a man is diagnosed with locally advanced prostate cancer he has high-risk prostate cancer. Locally advanced refers to tumours that have pushed outside of the prostate gland to nearby regions. Men with this stage of prostate cancer have a number of treatment options to give them the best chance of surviving this disease. A recent clinical trial has compared the success and side effects of different treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer.

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More than half of men diagnosed with prostate cancer may receive ADT treatment. This treatment is efficient in decreasing male hormone levels which in turn slows tumour growth. There are established side effects of ADT but the impact of ADT on the brain function has not been established. What we do know is that male hormones (androgens) play a critical role in neuron maintenance and growth. Hence, decreasing androgen levels for extended periods of time could have a major impact on the normal function of the brain.

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PCFA Staff
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Men with localised prostate cancer often choose radiotherapy to treat their disease. Recent advances in radiotherapy technology are helping to improve treatments and reduce side effects. Australian men have access to cutting-edge radiotherapy technologies for their treatment. But there is one therapy that has not yet been possible in Australia - proton therapy. A new proton therapy treatment centre is now being built in Adelaide. Will proton therapy revolutionise prostate cancer treatments in Australia?

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PCFA Staff

People who have their evening meal before 9 p.m. or wait at least two hours before going to sleep have lower risk of prostate cancer.

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Recent news articles have reported that “Hormone therapy can make prostate cancer worse”. They refer to a new study that asked how hormone therapy can change prostate cancer, making it more aggressive and likely to spread. Is it time to throw away the hormone therapy drugs? No it’s not. But this new study sheds some light on how these changes occur and takes us closer to a test that will help determine who is at risk.

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Radiotherapy is an effective treatment for localised prostate cancer. Advances in radiotherapy techniques aim to increase the dose of radiation given to the prostate area, whilst reducing side effects from the treatment. One possible side effect from prostate radiotherapy is bowel problems. Promising new clinical trial data indicate that injection of a hydrogel spacer can reduce the bowel side effects caused by radiotherapy.

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Research Blog

PCFA's Research Blog is regularly updated with articles, written in simple language, about recent and topical research in prostate cancer.