Here’s some of what we know about prostate cancer.
With prostate cancer, as with many other forms of cancer, there is no question that screening can help find many prostate cancers early. Once diagnosed with prostate cancer the question then falls to the man and his doctor to determine the most judicious course of action. A man’s treatment depends on how aggressive the cancer is, whether or not it has spread, how far it has spread, his age and general health, and his preferences based on physician recommendations.
Well-Being reached out to Patrick P. Daily, M.D., Urologist with Mississippi Urology Clinic about the treatment options available to men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, including those with advanced prostate cancer that has been resistant to primary treatment.
“When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, depending on the Gleason grade, (a way by which the disease is scored based upon its microscopic appearance, with a higher Gleason score representing a more aggressive cancer), we consider them for primary treatment which can include radiation, surgery, and cryotherapy, the use of very cold temperatures to freeze and kill prostate cancer cells,” explains Dr. Daily. “If these methods are successful in eliminating the patient’s cancer, we follow-up frequently to monitor the situation to make sure the cancer has not returned.”
“Hormone therapy may be used when the prostate cancer has spread too far to be cured by radiation, surgery and cryotherapy, or if the cancer returns after these treatments,” Daily adds. “Hormone therapy, also called androgen deprivation (or suppression) therapy, works by reducing the level of male hormones, particularly testosterone, which fuels growth of prostate cancer. Starving prostate cancer cells of testosterone, can shrink them or make them grow more slowly. The problem comes when cancer cells become immune to hormone therapy. Traditionally, at that point, there were fewer options for treatment – one being chemotherapy, which also didn’t work that well.”
According to Daily, fortunately several new therapies for advanced prostate cancer approved by the FDA, are now available and have been proven to have some encouraging results. These include new more powerful oral medication and immunotherapy.
“When primary treatment of prostate cancer has not been successful at killing and preventing the return of cancer cells, in the past, that often meant that we would refer the patient to a medical or surgical oncologist,” continues Daily. “Because prostate cancer treatment is a very personal and often a long-term proposition, a strong relationship of confidence and trust develops between the patient and physician. This makes many men reluctant to want to go elsewhere for new forms of treatment. What we have done at MS Urology is to incorporate all of these treatment options for advanced prostate cancer under one roof, in our Advanced Prostate Cancer program.”
According to the American Cancer Society, one of the new and promising therapies is a form of immunotherapy called adoptive cell transfer therapy. This cutting-edge treatment involves removing immune cells (white cells also called T cells) from a patient’s body, reengineering them to learn to attack cancer, and then re-infusing them back into the patient. This treatment is now helping advanced prostate cancer patients at Mississippi Urology Clinic.
“For T cells to be made capable of fighting cancer again requires the patient to have blood drawn and the white cells separated from the whole blood, a process called apheresis. Mississippi Blood Service here in Jackson is the only place in the state that is able to provide this service. Once the white cells are harvested, they are sent to Atlanta where they are reengineered and stimulated to kill prostate cancer cells again. The cells are then returned and reintroduced into the body of the patient, where they can fight prostate cancer,” notes Daily.
“This immunotherapy option is not yet widely available here in Mississippi and throughout the southeast, but we are excited to offer this ground-breaking treatment through our Advanced Prostate Cancer program. Immunotherapy patients from around the state have to come to Jackson to MS Blood Services anyway, receiving all other aspects of their treatment here with us is very convenient for them. But even more importantly, immunotherapy is offering renewed hope for patients who not long ago might have had none,” Daily concludes.
Patrick P. Daily, M.D., Urologist, received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, and completed his general surgery internship and residency in urology at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Daily, who joined the practice of MS Urology Clinic in 2004, is certified by the American Board.