Prostate cancer news reports: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today’s prostate cancer news reports address such issues as:

  • The quality of prostate cancer care in the US
  • Does PSA have a therapeutic impact on prostate cancer?
  • What patients think about prostate cancer support services
  • New guidelines on pain management for urologists

Many readers may be interested in a commentary by Zubin Jelveh that appeared in The New Republic yesterday under the title, “Is the U.S. better at treating prostate cancer?”

Mattsson et al. have postulated that (at least in some individuals) the PSA molecule may itself have a therapeutic effect on the progression of prostate cancer because PSA itself seems to have an antiangiogenic effect. One sign of the possibility that this is true is that men with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer can, early in their diseasse, have lower relative PSA levels than men with more indolent forms of the disease. This finding may have some interesting ramifications — if it is in fact true and can be confirmed by others.

Based on follow-up of men treated for prostate cancer at a radiotherapy center, Queenan et al. have reported that the perception that they have a personal support system in place to help them through the experience (i.e., the functional belief) is probably more important to patients than the actual size and scope of the support system (the structural reality). This is not a surprising finding. From the patient’s point of view, it doesn’t matter how good the support system is in theory if it doesn’t seem to work for one as an individual! In addition, the authors showed that patients with significant side effects to treatment tend to have a lower perception of the functional support available.

The European Association of Urology (EAU) issued new guidelines on pain management for patients with urologic conditions in March this year. Obviously, some parts of this document have great relevance for prostate cancer patients. The entire 80-page document is now available on  line. on the UroToday web site. (You have to sign on as a member of UroToday to be able to see it — but membership is free.)

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