One in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. While it’s a serious disease, it’s not always deadly. More than 3 million men in the United States, who have been diagnosed, are still alive.
Early detection through doctor exams and PSA blood tests means more men can get diagnosed and treated sooner. If PSA tests are elevated after prior treatment, a doctor may request additional tests, like PET imaging or an MRI, which evaluate the likelihood of cancer in a given region. Blue Earth Diagnostics was the first to market with an FDA-approved PET diagnostic imaging radiopharmaceutical to detect and localize recurrent prostate cancer.
“Diagnostic imaging has helped us to identify patients who are not only at risk of recurrent prostate cancer, but more specifically, those men who are at risk of aggressive recurrent disease,” says Brian T. Helfand M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of urology at Ronald L. Chez Family and the Richard Melman Family Endowed Chair of Prostate Cancer.
Dr. Helfand, who’s also a clinical professor at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, says that distinction is important because men with aggressive recurrent prostate disease should be treated, and those men with lower risk or less aggressive types of tumors should be followed over time, under “active surveillance.”
Diagnostic imaging helps doctors with that surveillance, which is important since prostate cancer has a recurrence rate of 30 percent or higher.
“In the past five-plus years, diagnostic imaging has really changed the bar of how to manage patients who have prostate cancer recurrence,” he says.
Landi Maduro knows firsthand the importance of early detection. Her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago. Now 72, his prostate cancer is still under active surveillance.
“With diagnostic imaging, they can identify the extent of recurrent disease,” she says.
At the time of her father’s diagnosis, Maduro, an African American filmmaker, had recently started shooting a documentary about prostate cancer. Her film partner’s father and brother were diagnosed with the disease.
The filmmakers learned Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer compared to men of other races. Their award-winning film, “The Silent Killer: Prostate Cancer in the African American Community,” breaks the taboos and stigmas surrounding prostate cancer.
“I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re alone in dealing with prostate cancer,” says Maduro, who encourages men to be their own advocates and reach out for support.
To learn more, visit blueearthdiagnostics.com.