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Doctors are working to learn more about prostate cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.
Finding causes of prostate cancer. Researchers continue to explore the link between nutrition and lifestyle factors in the development of prostate cancer.
Early detection. Researchers are developing a better PSA test, either a more specific and precise test or another test altogether. Researchers are also looking at a urine test to find a substance called prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) to help find prostate cancer. Because PCA3 is made by the body in larger amounts when a man has prostate cancer, doctors could use the test to decide if a man needs a prostate biopsy. With improved testing, more healthy men could be screened for prostate cancer, so more prostate cancers can be found and treated early.
Improved surgical techniques. Better techniques for nerve-sparing surgery can improve the likelihood that men who need radical prostatectomy keep their urinary continence and sexual function after surgery.
Shorter radiation therapy schedules. With better, more precise external-beam radiation therapy, researchers are exploring much shorter and more convenient treatment schedules. Instead of 40 treatments, researchers are evaluating 28, 12, or only five treatments.
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). This procedure, which is still being researched in the United States, uses transrectal ultrasound to heat and destroy cancer cells.
Tests that evaluate the success of treatment. Circulating tumor cells (cells that have broken free of the tumor) can be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment; this test uses a patient’s blood sample to collect the circulating tumor cells.
Improved therapy for advanced prostate cancer. Researchers are exploring different treatment options for advanced prostate cancer through a series of clinical trials including special targeted drugs, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy options are being tested in clinical trials.
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current prostate cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.
Learn more about common statistical terms used in cancer research.
Looking for More about Current Research?
If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding prostate cancer, explore these related items:
- To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
- Review research announced at recent scientific meetings or in ASCO’s peer-reviewed journals.
- Read ASCO’s latest Clinical Cancer Advances report, which highlights top research findings over the past year.
- Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for prostate cancer.
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