Today prostate cancer patients with advanced disease have three relative new treatments available that improve overall survival. Provenge, Zytiga and Xtandi have all been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the past two years. These treatments represent significant progress for patients who for years had only chemotherapy to rely upon following hormone therapy. But the good news does not stop here.
There are an increasing number of clinical trials using these “FDA approved” treatments. Importantly, these clinical trials are not experimental and seeking to prove the effectiveness and safety for these treatments. Effectiveness and safety were determined for each as part of the FDA approval process. Instead many of these trials are studies to better understand the treatments’ level of effectiveness relative to parameters such as stages of disease, genetic factors, in combination with other treatments, etc.
In most instances men participating in these trials are able to receive treatment with these expensive drugs for no cost and no increased risk. Clinical trials using these new treatments represent a new day for prostate cancer patients, especially for those that cannot afford these treatments.
It is important for African American men, who are at a higher risk for needing treatment for advanced disease, to participate in these trials to help better understand how these treatments can impact on eliminating the prostate cancer epidemic that we now suffer. Also, in some cases these trials will remove the access barrier that some men face.
PHEN will continue to highlight and focus on important clinical trials to insure that the men most impacted by prostate cancer are knowledgeable and have the opportunity to participate in this exciting new day for patients.
Remember, knowledge is the best defense against prostate cancer.