Prostate cancer continues to be surrounded by many unanswered questions, from what causes prostate cancer, how effective testing is, what the optional treatment options are and how best to support long term survivors. Advances in early detection and treatment for prostate cancer have led to significant improvements in survival in recent decades, with over 95% of Australian men living beyond five years after diagnosis. However, many men experience long-term physical and psychological effects from their treatment. The Pathways-Prostate Cancer Group is investigating questions related to all aspects of prostate cancer detection and patient care, including testing, active surveillance for men at risk and survivorship for men living with a diagnosis. Current areas of focus include:
Investigating known or new causes of prostate cancer
The team is working to better understand some of the known or suspected causes of prostate cancer. Using the NSW 45 and Up Study and working with the Cancer Institute NSW to better identify the severity of disease the team is exploring issues around family history, urinary issues, diabetes and metabolic syndrome as risk factors for prostate cancer.
Evaluating the benefits and harms of testing and treatment
The team is developing a predictive modelling platform called Policy1-Prostate to evaluate the benefits and harms of prostate cancer testing and different patterns of care for prostate cancer patients. The team is also using the bi-national Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry Australia and New Zealand (PCOR-ANZ) data to investigate the costs and benefits of treating men according to international guidelines.
Reviewing national guidelines for multiparametric MRI
A multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) scan is a special type of scan that creates more detailed pictures of the prostate than a standard MRI scan. The role of mpMRI in prostate cancer detection is rapidly evolving. The team is reviewing the integration of mpMRI in the diagnosis and management of patients.
Understanding quality of life for men with prostate cancer
The differences in overall quality of life between men with prostate cancer and those without the disease will be determined to allow for better planning to help scope both decisions and policies for men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the future. The team has been focused on the long-term implications of prostate cancer on men and their partners through the Prostate Cancer Care and Outcomes Study.
Leading a clinical trial of nutritional supplement for prostate cancer
Pros-D is a phase II clinical trial testing the benefits of a high dose vitamin D supplementation in preventing prostate cancer progression in men with localised prostate cancer who are on active surveillance.
“We’re investigating all aspects of the prostate cancer journey to optimise early detection, improve clinical care and support for men and their families living with prostate cancer.”