Innovative treatments for advanced prostate cancer offer men more options
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. As men age, their risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer significantly increases and it is estimated that this year alone, more than 28,000 men will die from the disease. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African American men are two times more likely to die from prostate cancer over any other race.
To bring additional awareness to the high prevalence of prostate cancer in this population, September is dedicated as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which focuses on educating men about the seriousness of the disease and the treatment options available.
Prostate cancer survivor and advocate, Thomas Farrington, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 55 and describes himself as being completely uninformed about the disease before diagnosis. As a result, he created a non-profit organization called the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN). Its mission is to primarily increase prostate health education and awareness among African Americans, as one in five will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.
“When I found out I had prostate cancer, I didn’t know what to do or how to react. All I knew was something had to be done and I took it upon myself to take action,” says Farrington. “That’s why I created PHEN. I wanted to help African Americans learn more about the disease.”
There are now innovative options available to help treat advanced prostate cancer, including PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T), which is the first therapeutic cancer vaccine that uses immunotherapy to stimulate the immune system to recognize prostate cancer cells in the body and attack them.
Understanding why African Americans are disproportionally affected by prostate cancer is still unknown, but many physicians including Dr. Chiledum A. Ahaghotu, chief of Urology at Howard University Hospital, consider prostate cancer screening an important element of detecting the cancer in its earlier stages, which in turn increases survival odds.
“All men should have discussions with their doctors about prostate cancer to be better informed about this potentially lethal disease,” Ahaghotu says. “Finding prostate cancer and starting treatment early is the best weapon to fight this disease.”
To help bring prostate cancer and early screenings into the public eye, each year PHEN hosts the African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit in Washington, D.C. in September, which outlines new strategies for eliminating the prostate cancer racial disparity. PHEN’s working philosophy is that “knowledge is the best defense against prostate cancer,” and with ongoing prostate health awareness efforts through the organization, African American men can learn how to protect themselves from the disease. Visit prostatehealthed.org to learn more.
This September, encourage the men in your family to get a prostate cancer screening in an effort to catch the disease and begin treatment early.
PROVENGE is an autologous cellular immunotherapy for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant (hormone refractory) prostate cancer.
PROVENGE can cause serious reactions including those resulting from the infusion of the drug, which occur within 1 day of infusion, and strokes. Severe infusion reactions can include chills, fever, fatigue, weakness, breathing problems, dizziness, headache, high blood pressure, muscle ache, nausea, and vomiting.
The most common side effects reported with PROVENGE in clinical trials were chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache and headache. These are not all the possible side effects of PROVENGE treatment. For more information, please talk with your doctor.
For full prescribing information, visit www.provenge.com or call Dendreon on call at 1-877-336-3736.