Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis

There are numerous methods of detecting and diagnosing prostate cancer:

    • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) – The doctor gently inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to check for growths and an enlargement of the prostate gland.
      Digital_Rectal_Examination_pic
    • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test – PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland that is released into the bloodstream in small amounts, and is detected via blood tests. If the PSA amount within the blood is higher than normal, prostate cancer is likely present.
    • Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 (PCA3) Test – This test is conducted via a urine sample to detect PCA3, a gene that is over expressed in prostate cancer cells. Its presence in urine indicates the existence of prostate cancer.
    • Percent-Free PSA Ratio – This blood test measures the amount of PSA that circulates individually (unbound) in the blood, as well as the amount that is bound with other blood proteins. If PSA results are elevated and the percent-free ratio is low, prostate cancer is likely to be present.
    • Ultrasound – A transrectal ultrasound provides an image that can be used to determine the size of the prostate gland and detect suspicious tissue.
    • Biopsy– A prostate biopsy involves removing small amounts of tissue to examine under a microscope, which allows doctors to determine whether cancer is present.

Prostate_Biopsy_Pic

Treatment

Several treatment options are available for prostate cancer patients. The standard therapies for men with organ-confined, or localized, prostate cancer include:

  • Active Surveillance – Conducting regular digital rectal examinations, PSA tests and repeat prostate biopsies is a treatment option if prostate cancer is not causing symptoms and anticipated to grow slowly.
  • Surgery (Prostatectomy) – Surgical treatment involves removing the prostate gland and seminal vesicles and in some cases sampling lymph nodes in the pelvis.
  • Radiation Therapy – During radiation treatment, high energy X-Ray waves are targeted at cancerous tumors resulting in damage to the DNA of the cells, leading to death of the cancer cells.
  • External Beam Radiotherapy – X-ray beams are passed through the body from the outside (like a Chest Xray), aimed at the prostate gland, in small doses over many days.
  • Brachytherapy – Radioactive seeds/pellets are implanted in the prostate gland and give off radiation over many days to the prostate gland.

Other treatment options include:

  • Hormonal Therapy – Most prostate cancer cells are dependent upon testosterone (male hormone) for growth. Hormonal therapy for prostate cancer involves removing or blocking the effects of testosterone and its stimulating effect on prostate cancer cells.
  • Cryotherapy – Cryotherapy is a relatively new form of treatment that uses controlled freeze and thaw cycles to destroy prostate cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy – Typically is used to treat advanced, castrate resistant disease, chemotherapy is a systematic treatment that uses anticancer medication to destroy cancer cells.

To learn about other available treatment options, talk with your doctor.

For more information please visit the Prostate Cancer Canada website.

Dr. John Lewis recognized for a breakthrough innovation with commercial application: ClarityDX Prostate

Alberta’s life sciences industry association; BioAlberta, hosted its 2018 awards gala in Calgary, September 24. BioAlberta honoured Dr. John Lewis, the Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research and an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, with its Scientific Achievement and Innovation Award.

The Scientific Achievement and Innovation award recognizes an individual or a team responsible for a breakthrough innovation with commercial application. John Lewis and his research team based with his spin-off company Nanostics Inc. developed ClarityDX Prostate, a blood test designed to accurately diagnose aggressive prostate cancer. ClarityDX Prostate will give clinicians and physicians another tool to help them and their patients decide to perform a biopsy, or not. When the test becomes commercially available it is expected to reduce the number of prostate biopsies by 50%.

BioAlberta also gave out The Company of the Year award to Circle Cardiovascular Imaging Inc. for significant achievement within the marketplace and Alberta’s business community. It has developed technology to produce an innovative post-processing cardiovascular imaging solution to improve patient outcomes that provides fast, accurate and reproducible images to assist physicians in earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Mel Wong, President and CEO of BioAlberta presented the awards with these comments, “We commend Circle Cardiovascular Imaging and Dr. John Lewis for their exceptional achievements in life sciences, Alberta’s life sciences industry is maturing and these award winners exemplify Alberta’s capacity for global impact.”

More than 200 representatives from industry, the investment community, government and innovation support organizations attended the awards gala that was held in partnership with TEC Edmonton, and with generous event sponsors. Read more in this Financial Post article.

Congratulations to John Lewis on receiving BioAlberta’s Scientific Achievement and Innovation Award!

- Perrin Beatty