In honor of November being Men’s Health Awareness Month, here is a look back at the most impactful developments in the oncology space from 2023.
Stephen Peck, a veteran whose wife died from metastatic breast cancer, founded the nonprofit organization, Caring Men. The organization, founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, provides education, resources and a community to caregivers, especially men, who are helping an individual throughout a cancer journey. Peck emphasizes the importance of mental health, seeking help and the tough experiences that individuals endure throughout caregiving.
“Many years ago, I lost my first wife to metastatic breast cancer, and it was pretty tough,” Peck said during an interview with CURE®. “During the time she was ill, I was very active in getting information on what to do, how to talk to the doctors, learn about her disease and be a good care provider. Because I had never been through that before, I had a really difficult time getting information, I had to go from one place to another.”
Resources like American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute are just two impactful resources that CaringMen.org introduces to caregivers on their website.
“We’re here to deliver that information … we’re looking to be purveyors of information so that men and women and children can get information to be a good caregiver,” Peck explained.
A study found that three out four testicular cancer survivors who underwent cisplatin-based chemotherapy reported that they were experiencing ototoxicity, which is when a patient develops hearing or balance problems due to medicine use. Cisplatin is one of the chemotherapies that is known as a reason for ototoxicity, which can cause inflammation within the ear, creating hearing loss, ringing or buzzing.
The study, focusing on 145 testicular cancer survivors, showed that 75% reported ototoxicity, 68% reported tinnitus (a symptom of ototoxicity) and 52% reported both conditions.
CURE® spoke with Victoria A. Sanchez, assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, to discuss ototoxicity from cisplatin-based chemotherapy, what patients should know about symptoms and how patients can advocate for themselves.
“Oncologists have really important jobs of evaluating the cancer and what’s the best approach to kill the cancer. But it’s also important for the patient to communicate to the oncologist that their hearing is really important. How is this going to be affected? Can I make sure I’m getting all the appropriate testing? Can we make adjustments if possible? And now that I’m on the other side of cancer, send the oncologists and the patients to the appropriate places to receive the best practices and hearing services that are available,” stated Sanchez.
A recent study showed that patients with localized or locally advanced nonmetastatic, high-grade prostate cancer and low prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels could improve death rates from docetaxel, alongside the use of radiation and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or radical prostatectomy (RP). Research, featured in JAMA Network Open, showed a 70% death reduction rate from prostate cancer-specific mortality throughout a healthy status group of patients.
The study consisted of 145 patients and findings suggested that improvement was seen in survival for a specific patient population that was lacking effective treatment. There were two primary treatments within the study: docetaxel was giving in addition to the standard-of-care treatment. The second treatment was radical prostatectomy, which involved the surgical removal of the prostate along with tissue surrounding the cancerous area and lymph nodes nearby.
“Of these 145 patients, 139 had excellent performance status and were the main focus of the study. An excellent PSA identifies patients who can tolerate the full course of chemotherapy and therefore benefit if the treatment proves effective,” Dr. Anthony Victor D’Amico, chief of genitourinary radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and senior author of the study, said in a news release.
Results from a phase 3 trial showed that patients cured from high-risk prostate cancer benefitted in quality of life after testosterone recovery following androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). The study consisted of 630 patients with high-risk prostate cancer who received pelvic and prostate radiotherapy within the span of 18 or 36 months of ADT.
Out of the 269 patients remaining within the study, 140 recovered serum testosterone to a healthy level and 94 patients were in the 18 month ADT group, while 46 patients were in the 86 month ADT group. Patients who had recovered received a higher quality of life, these topics: physical, role, emotional, pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, trouble sleeping, diarrhea and financial difficulties.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer may be present for 2023. It is also estimated that one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer within a lifetime, more likely to occur within people who are older and of non-Hispanic Black descent.
This information was seen in a poster presentation from the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium.
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