Prostate Cancer

Cancer is commonly defined as the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells. When cells become aged or damaged, they are replaced with new cells. Sometimes the genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or altered, producing mutations that negatively affect cell growth and division. Prostate cancer may be slow growing, or it may be aggressive. When confined within the prostate or another organ, cancer is known to be “localized” or “organ-confined”. When cancer cells spread throughout the body (metastasize) via blood and lymph systems, they can become life threatening.

Prostate cancer is one of the leading forms of cancer diagnosed in North American men, typically in men over the age of 50. In its early stages, prostate cancer has no symptoms, which is why it’s important for men to have regular medical checkups. If diagnosed early, prostate cancer is often curable. Treatment can eliminate symptoms and prolong life expectancy.

Prostate_Cancer_pic

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors for prostate cancer, some modifiable, others not. These include:

  • Age – Prostate cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men over the age of 50.
  • Family History – Research shows an increased risk for prostate cancer in sons, brothers and fathers of men with the disease.
  • Genetics – Inherited gene changes may increase prostate cancer risk.
  • Diet – High fat, high calcium and high red meat diets may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Ethnicity – Studies have shown that prostate cancer is more common in men of African ethnicity.

For more information about the prostate, visit the Prostate Cancer Canada website.

The Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre has the highest accrual for a novel ultrasound study in prostate cancer

“We have enrolled over 400 patients at our site, reaching our enrollment goal much faster than all other sites across North America. We are now planning on adding in 250 more patients to this trial because of the encouraging results found with the first arm of the trial. Our site tied with the highest accrual goal and surpassed all other sites to meet our enrollment goal.”

The study is a “Multi-Center trial of high-resolution transrectal ultrasound versus standard low-resolution transrectal ultrasound for the identification of clinically significant prostate cancer”

The only definitive method for diagnosing prostate cancer is through a prostate biopsy. This procedure includes the use of an ultrasound machine to guide both freezing needles and biopsy needles into the prostate. The ultrasound machine that is currently in use is a low-resolution ultrasound machine which means that although it is good at seeing the entire prostate gland to guide the needles, it is often unable to visualize the prostate in enough detail to be able to see different lesions and areas of concern within it. Thus, many biopsy samples are taken systematically with two samples from each section of the prostate. Recently a new ultrasound machine has been created that gives images of the prostate with much higher resolution, allowing the radiologist performing the biopsy to see details within the prostate that were previously inaccessible. A study using this new high-resolution ultrasound machine is being completed at the Prostate Cancer Centre to compare the adequacy of this new machine to detect prostate cancer over the standard low-resolution machine. Over 650 patients will be enrolled in this study!

pcc-logo_2x

- Eric Hyndman