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Prostate cancer: difficulties in daily life for 8 out of 10 patients

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Prostate cancer: difficulties in daily life for 8 out of 10 patients

Every disease has consequences on the life of those who suffer from it. It is more difficult for men to talk about it, but an online survey carried out among 411 patients and promoted by the Italian Society of Uro-Oncology (SIUrO) reveals the impact that prostate cancer can have on their daily life.

The results were presented during the ‘Prostate Cancer’ webinar broadcast on the Scientific Society’s Facebook page in recent days. It was the first of a series of online events that are part of the “SIUrO Meets Patients and Caregivers” project: once a month, the SIUrO experts will address all aspects of urological tumors at 360 degrees (prevention, therapies, impact on life daily routine, bureaucratic-administrative difficulties, rehabilitation). Patients, caregivers, medical-health personnel as well as simple web users will be able to ask questions directly to the specialists.

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The results of the survey

From the survey emerges the strong malaise generated by the tumor. Eight out of ten patients report that their ordinary activities are impaired due to the disease. These include work (61%), sex (57%), hobbies (48%) and sport (27%). “Prostate cancer has become the most frequent in the male population of almost all Western countries,” he said Alberto Lapini, National president of SIUrO.

“The number of new cases is increasing in Italy also thanks to the greater probability of diagnosis. Today it is possible to cure it thanks to an ever wider therapeutic armamentarium and the results obtained in terms of survival are remarkable”.

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However, some issues persist as the survey clearly demonstrated. More than 90% of patients have experienced changes on a psycho-physical level and the neoplasm has a negative impact especially at the uro-andrological level. “In fact – continues Lapini – 21% of patients claim to have had problems with impotence, 19% of incontinence and 11% of infertility. There are other contraindications related to treatments such as hair loss, gastrointestinal disorders, pain , asthenia or depression. However, it should be remembered that these are temporary side effects and that in any case the new treatments guarantee a good quality of life “.

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A complex treatment path

Difficulties are also encountered in the treatment process, especially in this period in which Covid-19 is still affecting the national health system. 35% of patients have difficulty in contacting the specialist doctor, 36% struggle to access follow-up exams and 23% find it very difficult to fill in health documents.

More than half of the patients consider the assistance from the local medicine to be insufficient. “Prostate cancer is a very complex disease – he added Sergio Bracarda, next president SIUrO. “Now we are able to accurately identify various biological information and we can also better understand the clinical conditions in which the cancer occurs: localized, locally advanced or metastatic disease. Based on these variables, the best course of treatment for the individual patient must be prescribed. “.

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Collaboration between different specialists

Interdisciplinarity is fundamental: “As in all urological neoplasms, also for prostate cancer the watchword must be multidisciplinary – added the president Lapini. This approach must include active collaboration between the various specialists who deal with patient management . The advantages are considerable as various studies and scientific researches have shown. In fact, the results for the patient improve, adherence to guidelines is favored and the various possible treatments can be envisaged. entire national territory “.

Available therapies

Thanks to scientific research, however, it is now possible to intervene effectively from a therapeutic point of view. “At the moment – explains Bracarda – we already have five treatments that increase survival in advanced cases and additional drugs are appearing, or are already available, such as Parp inhibitors, new hormonal agents and the possible use of radio treatments. -metabolics for advanced tumors. It should also be remembered that the use of oral drugs at the patient’s home represented an important therapeutic option, particularly in the most difficult moments of the pandemic, when hospitals were heavily under pressure. Research is also progressing towards obtain increasingly innovative and targeted treatments that take into account the needs and expectations of a growing number of patients “.

The role of radiotherapy

As for radiotherapy, the survey shows how it is administered to one out of four patients. “Thanks to technological and scientific innovation – he underlined Rolando D’Angelillo, professor of Radiotherapy at the University of Rome Tor Vergata – the treatment is very precise and selective and only cancer cells are actually affected by the radiation. It therefore plays an important role in all stages of the disease exclusively or multimodal to surgical and pharmacological treatment “.

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