Diagnosing aggressive prostate cancers early is key to saving men's lives. But there's more to life than just being alive. There's living well, living fully and living without chronic side effects of prostate cancer treatment. That's why it's so important that we invest in research to determine what the best, and least harmful treatments for men with prostate cancer might be.
The aim of focal therapy is to reduce ‘collateral damage’ to healthy tissue. By really honing in on the cancer itself, rather than the whole organ, there should be less chance of side effects like incontinence and erection problems that are sometimes associated with radical treatment options.
This kind of treatment is already a routine procedure in many other cancers. For example, a woman with localised breast cancer might have a lumpectomy, or even a partial mastectomy, rather than removing the whole breast. Other examples include bowel cancer, renal cancer and liver cancer. But we don’t yet know enough about how well focal therapy works in prostate cancer.
By donating today you could help bring treatment for prostate cancer in line with treatments already available for other cancers.
When Keith Chambers was diagnosed with localised prostate cancer in 2004, he had a radical prostatectomy, and still struggles with the side effects from his operation today.
It’s hard to know these side effects will never go away. They will always need managing. I hope my grandsons never get prostate cancer, but if they do, I want them to be able to get rid of it without having to live with the life-changing side effects I’m dealing with. If focal therapy had been an option back then, we’d definitely have considered it. It may well have reduced the stress that has hung over us for all these years.
So the big question is, how good is focal therapy at controlling localised prostate cancer?
We’ve just awarded nearly £500,000 to Professor Hashim Ahmed to test whether it’s possible to recruit men to a trial of focal therapy vs traditional whole gland treatment. This will pave the way for a larger study to determine once and for all whether focal therapies for prostate cancer really do reduce side effects of treatment, but also whether it can keep the cancer under control in the long term.
Supporters who fund research are more than important. They're vital.
Although focal therapy shows signs it has the potential to help men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer live life to the full, we don’t yet know if focal therapy will be the game changer we hope for. But this is our chance to find out. With your help, we can do just that.