How has prostate cancer treatment and research changed over time? Expert Dr. Maha Hussain shares her perspective about treatment and research progress, the role of the patient, and how to advocate for more research progress in the future.
Dr. Maha Hussain is the Deputy Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Learn more about this expert here.
Dr. Hussain, how do you feel about the future or prostate cancer research, and what would you like patients to know?
First, let me say that I would love for the patients to know that they are a partner, a most critical partner in the process.
That we need to continue the research and investment in research. It is research that will end up curing cancer. Wishful thinking will not do it. And patient volunteering, which I think is remarkable across all cancers. The business I’m in, the way that drug discovery and evolution often happen because patients volunteered. And without testing these new treatments and combinations, we will not be able to get better results.
And I will tell you that, when I started my training, the median survival for patients with resistant prostate cancer was on the magnitude of about nine months. Now it is three years-plus. Now, you could argue, well, that’s not huge. But that is a huge change because, again, we’re picking up the cancers much earlier. And the patients who had, as I mentioned, metastatic disease, again, the longevity then at the time I was in training, but even afterwards, was give and take in the three years. And now we’re talking six-plus years.
And so, there’s been tremendous progress. And really partnership with the patients and their families and supportive others is very critical, and investment in research. So, yes, advocate constantly for more investment in research.