TAMPA, Fla. – Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States, with approximately 233,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Advancements in medical treatments and screening strategies have resulted in significant improvements in patient survival. The 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer has increased more than 31 percent in the past 25 years, and it is estimated that there are currently 2.8 million prostate cancer survivors in the U.S. However, there are limited clinical guidelines to address the long-term and late effects of cancer treatment in survivors.
Brian M. Rivers, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant member of the Health Outcomes & Behavior Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, was part of a 16-member expert workgroup created by the American Cancer Society to analyze published studies and existing guidelines to develop a new set of clinical guidelines for long-term patient care after prostate cancer treatment.
Common treatments for prostate cancer are surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, or hormonal deprivation therapy. The type of treatment that a patient undergoes is dependent on the risk of disease progression, other health problems, age, race, ethnicity, access to oncology services and socioeconomic status.
Prostate cancer treatments can result in anemia, bowel dysfunction, cardiovascular and metabolic problems, anxiety, depression, fracture risk, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, intimacy problems, urinary dysfunction and fatigue. Employment, insurance or financial issues caused by medical treatments may result in additional stress or anxiety. Prostate cancer patients also often have other health conditions that may further aggravate the long-term effects of cancer treatment.
“Survivors should be routinely assessed for physical and psychosocial effects of prostate cancer and its treatment; the focus of assessment should be tailored to the type of cancer treatment received and current disease state,” explained Rivers.
Obesity, decreased physical activity, improper nutrition and smoking can contribute to poor long-term outcomes following cancer treatment. The new clinical guidelines recommend that physicians should promote physical activity, proper nutrition and smoking cessation.
Patients who have prostate cancer recur after treatment, often have a poor prognosis. Radiation therapy can also result in a small increased risk for other types of cancer. Physicians should regularly perform PSA tests, digital-rectal examinations and screen for possible secondary cancers after prostate cancer treatment.
According to the new clinical guidelines, it is important for the patient’s primary care provider to maintain medical care throughout cancer treatment to address additional medical concerns and follow-up care. The cancer specialist and primary provider should communicate about the patient’s expected long-term care and baseline quality of life measurements.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the No. 1 cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer since 1999. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.