Improving treatment options for prostate cancer


Improving treatment options for prostate cancer

Did you know that one in every six men is predicted to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime?

Even more heart-breaking is that in Australia today, nine men will die from prostate cancer*.  This needs to change.

We believe every man deserves a better future and if you believe in this too, we want you to help Mater Researchers to improve the lives of men with prostate cancer.

As a result of either their disease, or from their treatment, men with prostate cancer can experience a range of difficult symptoms. These can include pain, depression and fatigue, all of which can be a major problem for patients and their carers because symptom management often falls to the patient themselves.

Unrelieved symptoms can have a negative effect on quality of life for many men and their families.

So how can we help men dealing with prostate cancer to better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life?

Professor Janet Hardy and her team at Mater Research are looking to answer this question, examining the genetic basis of prostate cancer symptoms by analysing the genome of patients living with the disease. This research seeks to understand why some men suffer much worse symptoms than others who have a similar cancer. If successful, early symptoms treatment could ease the burden of symptoms and improve quality of life. 

This important research ultimately aims to develop a diagnostic tool that would allow for patients who present with prostate cancer to have a genetic analysis run, potentially enabling a personalised symptom management regimen to be created as early as possible.

This could help patients manage their symptoms proactively, reducing their hospital admissions and the impact their cancer symptoms have on their lives.

Professor Hardy stated, “Men can live with prostate cancer for a long period of time—often for many years. We want to find out about their healthcare needs, who is supporting them, what symptoms do they have, do they have pain, how well are they being managed, what is the quality of life and what sort of impact is the treatment having on their families?”

This research could have a huge impact for patients like Mark, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2015.

“My diagnosis came as a complete shock. At that point I didn’t really think too deeply about the seriousness,” Mark said.

His prostate cancer was frighteningly well advanced and Mark was referred to begin treatment at Mater Cancer Care Centre immediately.

“What I knew from the doctors was that the cancer cells had already metastasized to other parts of my body; including my tail bone and my pelvic bone.”

“I wasn’t able to tell my family and friends that it had already spread, but they soon figured it out when I began chemotherapy immediately.”

Mark began six gruelling rounds of chemotherapy treatment.

For Mark, the treatment caused a lot of side effects including pain, especially in his knees due to his arthritis. This is something that Professor Hardy is all too familiar with.

“Every day I look after men living with advanced prostate cancer—I witness their pain and suffering and the huge impact the disease has on their lives, and on their families and carers,” she said.

“By investing more into prostate cancer research we can find better ways to help improve their quality of life and make them more active and less reliant on hospitals and health care providers.”

Sadly the prognosis for prostate cancer has not improved in recent times, which is why this research is now so vital. For Mark, who is now in remission, personalised treatment could have provided him with a better quality of life during this tough period.

The good news is, we have already made great headway in improving the lives of men with prostate cancer thanks to supporters like you—but there is still so much for us to do.

Your support of the Mater Cars for Cancer lottery helps to drive vital medical research like this, which could help prostate cancer patients like Mark better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Purchase your tickets today in the latest Mater Cars for Cancer lottery for your chance to win and help cancer research.

*www.aihw.gov.au/cancer/prostate

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