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Research Blog

PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

It’s fair to say receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis, particularly the advanced incurable variety, throws your world into a spin...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

In a highly competitive field, one of the more alarming side effects of hormone therapy is a gradual decline in cognitive function. This is not ideal for anyone but is particularly suboptimal for a career writer...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Long-time readers of this column (stretching back, oh, what is it now, three weeks?) may recall that my own cancer self-care mantra is a simple one: Remember to take your M.E.D.S – Meditation, Exercise, Diet, Sleep. And that ticking each of these boxes each day, alongside conventional therapies, helps us withstand the rigours of cancer treatment and enhance quality of life...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Any diagnosis of cancer can trigger a range of emotions and put one into an anxious state. These feelings may wax and wane through the various stages of the cancer journey and may persist. Wondering whether you have cancer; waiting for the results of diagnostic tests; going for treatment; dealing with the after effects of treatment and the fear of recurrence are just some of the potential triggers...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

I love food. I love eating it. I love cooking it. I love shopping for it. I love planning a meal or discovering a new restaurant.

So, since I was diagnosed, on July 7, 2015, with metastatic prostate cancer, one of the most vexed questions I’ve faced is a remarkably basic one. What should I eat?

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Imagine if there was a single treatment that neatly addressed many of the side effects of prostate cancer and its treatment. A silver bullet that could improve cardio-vascular health and bone density compromised by hormone therapy, reduce fatigue, improve mental health, that might slow cancer’s progress and even assist sexual function?

What is this miracle treatment, you might ask?

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi, I’m Tim.

Diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic prostate cancer on July 7, 2015. PSA 120. Gleason score 9. Lesions in right femur (thigh bone) and left seventh rib. Those of you with a maths brain might have already calculated that was nearly seven years ago. In that time, I’ve had early chemotherapy with concurrent hormone therapy, targeted radiation, ongoing intermittent hormone therapy, and have undergone a TURP...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Did you know that more than half of Australian men over the age of 45 have some form of erectile dysfunction (ED)? The risk of ED increases with age, and for men with prostate cancer, it’s a major concern.

The good news is, there are a range of options for managing ED...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Arousal Incontinence OC.jpg
“Sexual incontinence is a broad term that encompasses climacturia (urinary incontinence at the time of orgasm) and arousal incontinence (urinary incontinence at the time of physical or psychological arousal or both).”...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Bladder neck contracture (BNC) is also known as bladder neck stenosis or alternatively a urethral stricture (which is not technically the correct term for this condition). The prostate lies between the underneath surface of the bladder and the end of the urethra inside the pelvis. When the prostate is removed there is a gap between the opening of the bladder and the end of the urethra...

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

Following a radical prostatectomy one of the potentials complications is a slight shortening of the length of the penis. This is because where the prostate is taken out a gap remains. The surgeon has to close the gap by reconnecting the urethral stump, which runs through the penis, to the bladder. Pulling the urethra internally towards the pelvis, pulls on the penis as well, potentially resulting in a relative shortening of the penis. Toussi et al and team at the Mayo Clinic in the United States have conducted a trial investigating the value of a penile traction device to assist patients with penile lengthening after surgery.

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

ADT blocks the production and effect of testosterone through various mechanisms (discussed in previous blogs). The main impact of reduced testosterone is low libido (reduced desire for sexual activity). However, it has also been demonstrated that low testosterone may affect erectile function both within the penis and the spinal cord. Read more... 

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PCFA_OC_Manager
Community Manager
Community Manager

In this article, we consider the risks of prostate cancer for people who have transitioned from being assigned male at birth to female in later life, who have a prostate gland which may predispose them to prostate cancer. This may be the case for people who were born with a prostate gland and have had gender affirming surgery (GAS), as well as those who identify as female, but have not had GAS.

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

The concept of intermittent androgen deprivation therapy (IADT) is well established. After a patient has been initiated on ADT for an induction period of between 6-12 months, they may then be offered a treatment holiday. The benefit of this treatment approach is to minimise treatment related side effects (such as compromised sexual function, hot flushes, depression, fatigue and cardiovascular risk) and improve quality of life. It may also ...

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Neoadjuvant therapy usually refers to chemotherapy administered prior to definitive treatment such as surgery or radiation. In the context of prostate cancer neoadjuvant treatment can include androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) (also known as testosterone blockade). Although usually given in the context of a clinical trial, neoadjuvant ADT (nADT) may be used to reduce the size of locally advanced tumours, facilitating surgical resection. It has also been shown to ....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

For some time researchers have been searching for alternative prostate cancer blood tests. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is still the best test that is available. Even though it only detects changes in the prostate it is also affected by factors other than prostate cancer (PCa) such as infections and an enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia). This results in several unnecessary prostate biopsies in those with rising PSAs. A PSA isoform (Protein similar to PSA) called [−2]proPSA (p2PSA) has been shown to be more .....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

In March this year we’ll celebrate the 1st Anniversary of PCFA’s Specialist Telenursing Service, a vital lifeline that has answered thousands of calls over the past 12 months.

In 2021 the service rapidly responded to lockdowns and treatment delays, and many of you called us for help.  

As the service has grown, we have worked hard to create awareness of the support available, so that Australian men don’t suffer in silence. 

And the good news is, you can call about absolutely anything related to prostate cancer. 

As Bernie Riley, General Manager of PCFA’s Supportive Care Programs, says, “No question is too small and there are no silly questions. We are a committed team of experienced prostate cancer nurses who really just want to help you, no matter what your trouble or situation is.”

Men and women call the service for a range of reasons:

  • Information about prostate cancer
  • Understanding various treatment options
  • Incontinence and urinary issues
  • Erectile dysfunction and erectile rehabilitation
  • Relationships and sexual issues
  • Worry and uncertainty about the future
  • Managing side effects
  • Referrals to support groups and MatesConnect

In the last year, we’ve had over 1,000 people call through for support, including patients, wives, partners, sons, daughters, friends, family members, and workmates of those impacted.

“Don’t put off calling if you need advice support – no matter what you need it for,” Bernie says.

“One thing people are often hesitant to call about is their mental health, but I encourage you to call – it can make a big difference talking to someone who understands what you’re going through.

“Feeling not quite like yourself, or feeling flat, worried, sad, lost, low or anxious is all very common after a diagnosis so reach out if you need to chat.

“In addition, the nursing team can help you manage other less commonly talked about issues like sleep problems and fatigue, and provide useful information around weight gain and exercise.”

Once you’ve spoken with a telenurse they can link you with a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse in your region if you haven’t already been connected, or arrange to give you a follow up call the following week if you’d like one.

Our Telenurses are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with opening hours extended to 8pm AEDT each Wednesday. If you call us outside of these hours, simply leave a message and we’ll return your call.

The number to call is 1800 22 00 99. Remember to let your loved ones know they can call us at any time too.

 

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Factors that may prompt germline testing include a family history of cancer, particularly breast cancer, ovarian, pancreatic cancer or melanoma. Having one or more family member with a cancer related to Lynch syndrome is associated with having a high risk of a germline mutation. In those patients whose prostate biopsy pathology shows ductal/intraductal histology also have higher rates of germline mutations.

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

PCFA Ambassador Ian Mawson shared this blog with us, reflecting on the past 10 years since his prostate cancer diagnosis..

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

The Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate (ANZUP) Cancer Trials Group was formed in 2008, and is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, allied health care professionals, scientists, researchers, and community representatives, all working in areas related to urogenital cancer. Their aim is to .....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Nuclear medicine studies such as PSMA PET scans can guide prostate cancer staging prior to surgery but are also used after surgery to search for disease recurrence or evidence of disease spread. These studies involve intravenous injection of radioactive tracers which are then tracked using specialised cameras to detect the cancer which lights up in various colours. It may be useful to pick up disease not seen on conventional CT scans or MRI. For those patients with intermediate and high-risk disease the surgeon may also .....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Clinicians should not treat “all patients the same” and be aware of their own personal biases, cultural assumptions, and the need for cultural humility in providing care. Cultural humility requires “a lifelong commitment to self-reflection and self-critique, to redressing the power imbalances in the patient-physician dynamic, and to .....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Researchers have identified that those diagnosed with prostate cancer have several unmet needs1. While some patients require specialised support from healthcare workers to deal with treatment side effects and psychological distress, others may prefer peer support as a means to manage these supportive care needs.

Very few prostate cancer survivors seek help for their psychological distress. A survey of Australian’s who had been treated for localised prostate cancer determined that 20% of men with unmet supportive care needs sought help

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Approximately 25% of Australian prostate cancer patients are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer (LRPC): approximately 5500 per year. They may be offered curative treatment options such as a radical prostatectomy (RP), radiotherapy (RT) and brachytherapy (BT), or may be managed with routine monitoring called active surveillance (AS). It is postulated that up to 50% of all prostate cancer cases do not require curative treatment up to 12 years after diagnosis, with evidence suggesting ...

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

SBRT is a form of radiotherapy that is delivered at a higher radiation dose per day but over a shorter period of time, 4-6 sessions versus 20-45 sessions (conventional external beam radiation therapy). The radiation dose is precisely targeted to the area containing cancer in a small number of fractions (hypofractionation) thereby avoiding surrounding structures and reducing toxicity. In the initial session a team of ...

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Active surveillance (AS) is an approach that uses a combination of PSA testing, prostate examinations, and prostate biopsies to monitor prostate cancer. Traditionally its has been advocated for those with localised very low risk and low risk stages of disease, but more recently .....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Numerous hypotheses have been tested to find the cause of prostate cancer. An abundance of research has focused on various nutrients and diets as a potential risk factor. This blog will provide a brief update on contemporary research findings, will touch on the concept of prehabilitation and conclude with integrative clinical models to improve diet and nutrition for patients on various stages of their cancer journey.

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Pre-prostate biopsy MRI can yield a 27–49% reduction of patients undergoing transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided biopsy. A meta-analysis of seven clinical trials with 2582 patients found that MRI with or without a targeted biopsy offered a 57% increase in clinically significant prostate cancer (csPCa) detection, a 33% decrease in the total number of biopsies, and a 77% reduction in cores per biopsy procedure1. The PRECISION trial .......

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Penile rehabilitation is a well-established concept and is thought to counter the effects of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) in the penile tissue and cavernous nerve neuropraxia (damage to penile nerve supply) after a radical prostatectomy (RP) which leads to fibrosis (scarring) and atrophy (shrinkage) of the smooth muscle cells of the corpora cavernosum (erectile chambers) of the penis. The variations to tissue cause veno-occlusive dysfunction and lower the probability of long-term recovery of erectile function. Techniques utilised include .....

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Chris_McNamara
Community Manager
Community Manager

Despite recent research advances, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer continues to be fatal. Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is highly expressed in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Lutetium-177 (177Lu)–PSMA-617 is a radioligand therapy that distributes beta-particle radiation to PSMA-expressing cells and the adjacent microenvironment. It is capable of

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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.