Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Does aggressive prostate cancer occur more often in specific population groups? Expert Dr. Isaac Powell from Karmanos Cancer Institute discusses some regions with high prostate cancer incidence outside the U.S., the impact of inflammatory cytokines, and how screening recommendations may change.

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How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Disparities Be Reduced?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

So, Dr. Powell, worldwide are there factors that drive aggressive prostate cancer?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yes, let me address that. In 2015 it was reported that in Ghana, the incidence of prostate cancer was higher than in the United States. It’s also been found in the Caribbean, Jamaica specifically in Haiti, that the incidence in prostate cancer is greater than among African Americans in this country. So that takes us to the question of what is it about Africa that’s responsible for this aggressive cancer. And so I’ve been looking into that issue and finding that it’s not all Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s the West Africa. It’s consistent with the slave trade and what is it about West Africa and also Central Africa that is causing this. And I also found that in East Africa, the incidences of prostate cancer as well as breast cancer is less than West Africa. So what now we’re talking about the environment. What is it about the environment of West Africa versus East Africa. And the environment is in West Africa considered a rainforest and in East Africa is considered a different environment. 

The diseases are different. In West Africa, you have such disease as a malaria and yellow fever, acute inflammatory diseases, West Africa, I mean East Africa, you don’t have that you have other things. So it’s the environment of West Africa, the rainforest specifically that causes those particular diseases. Now the genetics is, in those poor inflammatory cytokines that we’ve discussed that causes prostate cancer and, in fact, other benign diseases to be more progressive, protect against these acute infections. So this is…the immune system is very complex. In some cases it protects, in some cases it drives the cancers. This is what is…therefore, cancer is what is called an autoimmune disease. And so what the protection does, it selects the population in West Africa. The population that’s selected, because people don’t die from malaria because of these high expressions of poor inflammatory cytokines but, they do then die from chronic diseases such as cancer because those same genes drive the cancers.

 Now, the worldwide scientific organizations have shown a map of West Africa and Central Africa where malaria is very high. That same map shows that prostate cancer is more aggressive in that same area where malaria causes diseases. So the environment has a significant impact on the genome. The environment specifically impacts what I mentioned earlier, the oxidative stress, which is activated by reactive oxygen species. The reactive oxygen species is what is called an unpaired electron which makes it inactive and want…and therefore interacts with various environmental factors. These environmental factors also will activate through RNA methylation. Those two factors are the part of the genome that interacts with the environment, and those two factors interact with pro-inflammatory cytokines. So there is a triangle there that interacts or interplays during cancer and other diseases, and that’s where the environment impacts on the genome causing more cancers in particular populations.

Now, in terms of European Americans, there’s a difference between the Northern European genome gene pools and Southern European gene pools and prostate cancer. And Northern Europe prostate cancer is more aggressive compared to Southern Europe. So it’s not just among people of color. In fact, the color makes very little difference in whether you have an aggressive cancer, particularly in Sub-Saharan West Africa as well as in European. So I just wanted to make that point. And not many people are talking about this, because this is what is called population genetics. Epigenetic, transgenerational, hereditary genetics, those genes are transferred through populations over generations. So that’s what I’ve been learning more recently and there needs to be more discussion about population genetics. We know about familial hereditary, but this is different. This is population hereditary genetics.

Lisa Hatfield:

That is so interesting. So do you think over time there will be recommendations for…I think it depends too on funding for it, but for screening in certain areas of the world for prostate cancer or for any type of cancer where they have found this to be the case?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Absolutely. That’s going to be a little while, but that I think should happen, yes.

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How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Disparities Be Reduced?

How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Disparities Be Reduced? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What are some ways that advanced prostate cancer disparities can be reduced? Expert Dr. Isaac Powell from Karmanos Cancer Institute discusses early detection, recommended screening ages for African Americans versus European Americans, and how some government agencies can aid in reducing disparities.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

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Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions

Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

So, Dr. Powell, in your work, have you come across any innovative approaches or interventions that have shown promise in reducing racial disparities and improving outcomes for patients with advanced prostate cancer?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yes. Number one, educating the community about prostate cancer. Early detection is extremely important. I tell them that they should get their PSAs and digital rectal exams. I also tell them again, about obesity and exercise, how important it is to do that because it may prevent prostate cancer. And in terms of advanced disease, to just try to do the best they can and prolong in the survival by participating in clinical trials. And so I do quite a bit of educating in the African American community. In fact, in the ‘90s, we went to 51 churches, African American churches to talk about the prostate cancer and we also did testing. And what we learned in the ‘90s that mistrust factor was a major factor that prevented men from going in to be tested.

We also learned that men really don’t take care of their bodies as they should, and women have played a major role in the healthcare of men. So we start educating women about prostate cancer and encouraging their husbands to come in for examination, and very frequently, the wives have to bring their husbands in for testing or insist that they do that. I have this statement, I have a slide that says, men, they better care of their cars than they do of their bodies. And, in fact, they deny that they have any symptoms, and when they do, they don’t do anything about it until it’s too late.

Lisa Hatfield:

I have one follow-up question to that too, so you mentioned screenings, and I looked up prior to talking with you just to see what the general guidelines are for screenings for men, for prostate cancer, and it seems like they run the gamut. Do you have recommendations, or do you think the recommendations will change guidelines for screening and given your data and your research, is there a difference in screenings between European Americans versus African Americans?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yes. Because of what I’ve been talking about the cancer grows faster, and the significant cancers, the ones that are growing faster and become metastasized began in the 40s in African Americans, and so for European Americans has been recommended testing at age 50. I recommend age 40, American Cancer Society recommends age 45. Now, I believe at age 40, and I tell my patients that’s when they should start, African Americans that is, start testing for prostate cancer, specifically the PSA and digital rectal exam, and particularly if they have a family history. Now, the family history, if they only have one or two members is not much different than the aggressiveness among African Americans or European Americans.

If they have five or six members, not just a prostate cancer, but breast cancers as well, that means that they have a strong family history for having prostate cancer. If they have breast cancer, ovarian cancer in their family, or colon cancer, lung cancer, all those cancers are responsible for having a cancer and any specific cancer, if you have prostate cancer, breast cancer, you’re at risk for having colon cancer, for example. So that’s more recently talked about, multiple cancers in the family are even more important than having just prostate cancer in your family.

Lisa Hatfield:

Dr. Powell, given your expertise, what policy changes or healthcare system reforms do you believe are necessary to tackle the racial disparities in advanced prostate cancer care on a broader scale?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yes, policies are made by the government essentially. And so you have to encourage CDC, Centers Disease Control, US Preventive Services, which has done a disservice and prostate cancer. In fact, in 2012 they had that PSA did not show any evidence of preventing death from prostate cancer. They rescinded that 2017 recognizing that their recommendation 2012 was incorrect, and so US Preventive Services and the CDC, as well as the National Institute of Health NIH, have to come together and say, this disease is not only prostate but breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, all of these are more aggressive among African Americans, and we have to make a statement that screening has to be done earlier, education has to be emphasized.

And, in fact, COVID testing, it was almost mandatory on the circumstances that that happened. We used to demand that syphilis tests be tested if you got married. The government can also make it mandatory to be tested if your age, 45, American 50 for prostate cancer and maybe other cancers as well. So the government has to play a major role in establishing policies for testing, and I think that that would be very helpful in eliminating the disparity. 

Lisa Hatifield:

And then from the patient perspective, it sounds like, and just trying to clarify this to when you talk about screenings for a patient to get screened to the appropriate time, that includes both the PSA test and the digital rectal exam, is that correct?

Dr. Isaac Powell: 

Absolutely.

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How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Care Barriers Be Overcome?

How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Care Barriers Be Overcome? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How can barriers to advanced prostate cancer care be overcome? Expert Dr. Isaac Powell from Karmanos Cancer Institute discusses medical mistrust in the African American community and advice he gives to patients about prostate cancer screening and prevention.

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Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions

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How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Disparities Be Reduced?

Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

Are there any challenges unique to minority communities that hinder access to advanced prostate cancer treatments and therapies? And do you have thoughts on how these barriers can be effectively addressed?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

I do. First of all, the diagnosis has to be made. And so that’s made by screening, by the PSA testing and digital rectal exams. Now, some people are talking about, well, we don’t need to do the digital rectal exam. That absolutely is not true. You can have a very aggressive cancer and have a normal PSA. We know that the PSA is not 100 percent accurate in diagnosing, predicting that you may have prostate cancer sometimes.

And I’ve had several patients who had normal PSAs, abnormal rectal exams, and as a result, I’m biased with them. If you don’t do the rectal exam and you have a normal PSA, you may miss aggressive cancers. So definitely have your usual rectal exam, excuse me. And once after that, if you have a biopsy, and if it is positive, then again I think that aggressive therapy is the way to go, if you’re in good shape.

Now, people are afraid of cancer. I mean, afraid of surgery. I’ve had surgery, so I can talk to them about what I’ve had and what you go through. Men are also concerned about losing their sexual function and those kinds of things related to the treatment of prostate cancer. And I can tell them that the quality of life is okay after that because we have ways of treating sexual dysfunction, the pill that everybody knows about, as well as injection and penis and ultimately the penile prosthesis. So that can be fixed.

And the other issue of losing control of the urine, that can be fixed as well. And so those are the things I tell people about not specifically among African Americans. There’s the genetic and the biology that I have to discuss, but one of the things that drives these genetic cells is obesity.

Obesity can produce these pro-inflammatory cytokines. So I always advise them to, if they are obese, to reduce their weight and their fat, particularly belly fat. That’s challenging because people have difficulty losing weight. The other thing is exercise. Exercise is a key that I think it is the most important factor in treating many health conditions, exercise. And what exercise does, and this has been studied in breast cancer, it decreases the expression of the genes that I described earlier. In terms of prior driving the cancer and breast cancer, they’ve found it decreases the pro-inflammatory cytokines. I described the tumor necrosis factors IL-6 and IL-8. So that’s important, exercise. So those are the things that I tell patients. And now in terms of advanced disease there are clinical trials that are there.

And we do these trials to decide what’s the best treatment for cancer, even though we don’t have “a cure.” Now, the problem among African Americans is that they don’t trust these clinical trials because of the abuse that African Americans have suffered through slavery and all the other kinds of things when they’ve been treated as less than human, like animals being operated on without having any anesthesia and many other abuses that have occurred. And so there’s this major distrust now that’s very difficult to eliminate in the Black community, especially if there are very few African American doctors to take care of them. So what I think that we have to fix that question of distrust, and that’s going to take a while, but I talk to them always about this mistrust issue, because I can’t see everybody, although we do need more African American doctors and nurses to take care of them and to encourage them to participate in clinical trials and to be seen as a person who is going to be taking care of them in clinical trials, that’s very important.

Often we talk about access to care, but particularly African Americans that mostly live in large cities where there is access to care. But, in terms of one particular example that’s brought up on occasion is what has occurred in Baltimore and other big cities where I talk to an African American, you know Johns Hopkins is right in the middle of the African American community. So it’s not about access again, it’s about mistrust. And I said, “Well, why don’t African Americans go to Johns Hopkins?” Well, she says, “If you walk past Johns Hopkins, they may steal your bodies.” I said, what? I didn’t believe that, but I’ve been reading literature, particularly one called the Medical Apartheid where they talked about African slavery, where they dug up the bodies of slaves to practice the anatomy.

And so that’s where this idea occurred. At night, they would dig up the bodies and do this, and not only in Baltimore, but other cities as well. So again, the mistrust issue is very difficult to resolve because of those issues. And people talk about that, well, I just don’t trust the white healthcare system, period. And don’t want to go until they’re having symptoms, and then they have no choice. They have to go. And by this time, the cancers are more advanced and cannot even prolong life expectancy in those particular patients. So I’m not sure I answered your question in terms of what a person or what I would do to activate participation in the healthcare of advanced disease.

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Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Do the genetics of prostate cancer vary in African Americans? Expert Dr. Isaac Powell from Karmanos Cancer Institute discusses what research has shown about gene expression and what occurs in the body in African Americans versus European Americans.

[ACT]IVATION TIP

“…patients need to take charge by asking questions about the therapy. Again, ‘is it going to cure me, and is the chemotherapy going to cure, immunotherapy going to cure? If not, how long do we think that I will live?’ That’s a good question, that I’d like to know if I were a patient.”

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

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How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Disparities Be Reduced?

How Can Prostate Cancer Disparity Gaps Be Overcome?

How Can Prostate Cancer Disparity Gaps Be Overcome?

Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions

Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

So, Dr. Powell, I just read a bit about your really impressive research, particularly with regard to the biology and genetics of prostate cancer. Can you provide an overview of your research focus on how prostate cancer impacts African Americans in comparison to other ethnic groups?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yes, I would certainly love to do that. In 2010, we found that the cancer grows faster among African Americans compared to European Americans. And those are the terms we use now, as opposed to Black and white. In science, we use those terms. And so at that point, I thought that this may be driven by the genetics and biology. So in 2013, we used what now has been considered the artificial intelligence.

We use bioinformatics, which is computational biology, and gene interactive and network analysis to evaluate the cancer tissue. And so at that point, we identified, and we asked the question, are there genetic differences between African Americans and European Americans? And what they found were driver genes, driver genes being the genes that drive the cancer, that make the cancers carry out a function, a mechanistic function, as opposed to passenger genes that are just associated with the cancer, just as in a car, the driver is the one that controls the car, the passenger sits there. These passenger genes, yes, they’re associated with aggressive cancer, but they have minimal or no function. The driver genes are the ones that are controlling the cancer, the function mechanism of the cancer progression. And so we identified in our analysis 21 genes that were different between African Americans compared to European Americans, different in terms of the expression of the disease, not different genes, but different expression of the genes.

What we found is that African Americans have a greater expression of inflammatory genes and transcript genes. And I’ll be more specific about that in a moment. Whereas European Americans had a higher expression of lipid metabolism genes. Those are genes that are associated with fatty acids as well as unsaturated fatty acids, specifically omega-6 as opposed to omega-3. But there is a connection between these two gene interactions at one particular molecule called tumor necrosis factor. And this gene then interacts with both the lipid metabolism genes as well as other inflammatory cytokines. And the genes that we found that were more specific in among the inflammatory genes were the pro-inflammatory cytokines, and those were IL-6 tumor necrosis factor, IL-8, and IL-1B as well as CXCR4.

These are what are called pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. And they carry out functions that cause the cancers to invade. First of all, the cancer initial is cancer cells are stuck together. We call them adherent. They have to come apart before they can spread and go elsewhere. Well, these genes cause that it’s called epithelial mesenchymal transition. And once that happens, they’re capable of being transferred to distant sites such as the bone. And they also cause increased blood flow to the cancer. They also cause the oxidative stress that is driven by a molecule called reactive oxygen species.

And we’ll come back to that particular molecule because that’s important. Once it causes the oxidative stress, this causes DNA damaged repair genes to develop as well as mismatch genes. This mismatch means there are gene molecules that are stuck together, and there is an order. This order is upset by this particular oxidative stress, and those are mutated once they are repaired, and they impact on the mitochondria, which is a molecule in the cell nucleus that controls the chemistry of the cell.

And then this activates cancer stem cells, which is really important. And this is where we are going now with the cancer research. So TNF, the tumor necrosis factor IL-6 and IL-8, and the IL means interleukins. That’s what that stands for. They activate that pathway, the oxidative stress pathway. They also individually activate other pathways that lead to cancer stem cells. And I mentioned cancer stem cells because that’s the reason why chemotherapy and immunotherapy and all the drugs that we’ve used don’t work because the cancer stem cells undergo mutations and these mutations change the character of the cell. 

And that’s why the cancer cells resist that after a certain period of time, now these drugs will work and prolong survival, but they do not cure them because of the cancer stem cells. And so the cancer stem cells, in summary, are driven initially by the pro-inflammatory cytokines. So my research currently is to, well, how do we inhibit these pro-inflammatory cytokines? And that’s where we are now trying to develop a drug. We’re at the stage of mouse at this time, mouse biology and testing the drug in mice, not ready yet for human testing. So that’s where my research is headed, and I believe that that is going to work if the drug works.

Lisa Hatfield:

So just a follow-up question to that is, as a if I were a patient of yours or a family member, I might ask, so with your findings, do you think that this could lead to a cure, for example, for advanced prostate cancer?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yeah. I hate to use the word cure. The word I use is that we, our goal is to eliminate death from prostate cancer. That’s the term I prefer, because when we talk about cure, we have to know what causes it in order to really be certain as we are curing it. Because I don’t know whether what we’re doing is going to eliminate death, but that’s our goal. So I don’t like to use the word cure, because that’s the magic word and everybody gets excited. So I don’t want to get people excited too soon. So that’s where I am with my research.

Lisa Hatfield:

Well thank you so much for that. And do you have an activation tip for patients for this question, Dr. Powell?

Dr. Isaac Powell:

Yes. I think that, again, patients need to take charge by asking questions about the therapy. Again, is it going to cure me, and is the chemotherapy going to cure, immunotherapy going to cure? If not, how long do we think that I will live? That’s a good question, that I’d like to know if I were a patient. In fact, I’ve had prostate cancer and bladder cancer, so mine was early, so we didn’t get into those kinds of questions. But I like to know whether is this going to be something soon or later? Nobody can tell you when you may pass away from any cancer. I never give a patient any time. If they ask me, “Well, am I going to live six months or three years?” I don’t know. Because everybody’s different. Everybody responds differently to these particular treatments. So, but ask the questions as specific as possible that you’d like to know about the treatments, because there are several treatments, and there may be many answers.

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How Can Prostate Cancer Disparity Gaps Be Overcome?

How Can Prostate Cancer Disparity Gaps Be Overcome? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

 How can research bridge the gap in prostate cancer outcomes among different demographics?  Dr. Ronald Chen from University of Kansas Medical Center speaks to the work he and his colleagues are conducting around prostate cancer disparities and the different outcomes for different populations of patients who have the same diagnosis.

[ACT]IVATION TIP:

“My activation tip for this question is, my team’s research on how patients make decisions and the barriers has really led to a lot of insights that now allows us to implement programs to help tackle these barriers. And so I would advocate for any cancer patient to be willing to volunteer for a research study if one presents itself as an opportunity. It’s only through patients sharing their time and knowledge with researchers can we really learn about these critical issues, and then the participation will help future patients.”

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

Related Resources:

Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Are There Worldwide Links to Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Care Barriers Be Overcome?

How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Care Barriers Be Overcome?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

Dr. Chen, are there any ongoing or upcoming projects in your research group that aim to bridge the gap in prostate cancer outcomes between different demographic groups?

Dr. Ronald Chen:

Yes. One of my areas of research focus is prostate cancer disparities and the different outcomes, different groups of patients have with the same diagnosis. We know from a lot of research from my group and other groups, is that in prostate cancer, there are large disparities.

One example is that Black patients with prostate cancer have twice the mortality rate as white patients with prostate cancer. That’s been known for quite some time. But what causes some patients to die twice as much as others is not as much known. And I’ve done a lot of research to look at this area. Part of this mortality disparity relates to the understanding that some patients for some reason choose less aggressive treatment than others. So if you have an aggressive prostate cancer, but you’re choosing less aggressive treatment than others, then that may explain some of the higher rates of death.

And so what my group has done is to try to figure out why some patients choose less aggressive treatment and what that decision-making process looks like. I’ve had a large project where I have been following about 1,500 men with prostate cancer, it was a…what’s called an observational study where we enroll these 1,500 patients at the time of diagnosis. So as soon as they were diagnosed, we enrolled them and what we asked them is, “Hey, do you mind if we just follow you along with your course through treatment, through your survivorship course? We want to follow and just learn what you decide to do and why you decided to do it, and what your outcomes are.”

And for these 1,500 men, we have now followed them for about 10 years, really going through the journey with them and trying to learn as much as we can. And part of this study was when these men were making decisions about treatment, we were able to ask them a series of questions to really try to tease out, “Why did you choose this versus that? How did you make your treatment process?” And this was a very unique study because actually, there are very few studies that have went through the process of decision-making with men and trying to tease out what’s important to them.

What we learned from this research, from this study, from these men who volunteered their time with us, is that some patients who had pretty aggressive prostate cancer told us that their cancer was not aggressive. So we know by following these patients, we know from their medical records what their diagnosis was, and we knew how aggressive the cancer was. But when we asked these men to tell us what their perception was with their diagnosis, a portion of these men who had aggressive cancer told us that their cancer wasn’t that aggressive.

And we found that people who thought that their cancer was not aggressive, those were the patients who ultimately chose less aggressive treatment, because they didn’t think it was that important, it wasn’t that aggressive. And so, part of what we learned from this study was that a patient’s understanding of their diagnosis is a really critical factor in making the right decision.

Another piece that we learned from going through this process with these patients was that there was also a portion of the men who have financial concerns when they’re making the decision about treatment. Financial concerns relate to, “Well, I’m concerned that this treatment will impact my ability to work, I’m concerned about the cost of this treatment, I’m concerned about how this treatment will impact my family’s burden having to take care of me.” Those are all financial considerations.

And patients who had these concerns were also more likely to choose treatment that’s not as aggressive. And so we found out through this process, through these men sharing their decisions with us, that an accurate understanding of the diagnosis and some of these financial concerns really drove decisions of treatment for prostate cancer patients.

So now that we understand that, the question is, what is the next step? What can we do to help alleviate this problem? Because I think we can’t take away these concerns, and if patients have the right treatment, that will improve and optimize their outcome as well, and reduce disparities. 

And so part of what we’re doing here at University of Kansas is that we have really increased the availability of financial navigators and social workers for cancer patients. We know that a portion of cancer patients have financial concerns. We know that we don’t do as good of a job identifying patients who have concerns and then finding resources to help them.

Maybe it’s transportation, maybe it’s cost of treatment, maybe it’s the drug cost, and being able to identify these concerns early and finding resources to help would also, if we remove this barrier, then patients will be able to choose treatment that’s right for them without those concerns. And so, that’s one thing that we’re doing, now that we understand that’s an issue, we’re doing that to see if we can tackle and reduce this problem.

So my activation tip for this question is, my team’s research on how patients make decisions and the barriers has really led to a lot of insights that now allows us to implement programs to help tackle these barriers. And so I would advocate for any cancer patient to be willing to volunteer for a research study if one presents itself as an opportunity. It’s only through patients sharing their time and knowledge with researchers can we really learn about these critical issues, and then the participation will help future patients. And so, I would advocate for anybody to volunteer for research study, if that’s something they’re willing to do.

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Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions

Advanced Prostate Cancer Outcomes: Addressing Disparities and Exploring Solutions from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Does research in advanced prostate cancer address the disparities in outcomes among different racial and ethnic groups? Dr. Ronald Chen from University of Kansas Medical Center speaks to contributing factors, how far we have come and ongoing efforts.  

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

Related Resources:

How Can Prostate Cancer Disparity Gaps Be Overcome?

How Can Prostate Cancer Disparity Gaps Be Overcome?

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

Do Prostate Cancer Genetics Differ in African Americans?

How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Care Barriers Be Overcome?

How Can Advanced Prostate Cancer Care Barriers Be Overcome?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

How does your research address the disparities in prostate cancer outcomes among different racial and ethnic groups? And also, what are some of the key factors contributing to these disparities?

Dr. Ronald Chen:

I think there’s been a lot of research by my group and others looking at disparities in prostate cancer. And prostate cancer really is a shiny example of disparities. And what I think a lot of researchers has found is that, in prostate cancer there are clear disparities by a patient’s race. And what we know is that Black patients with prostate cancer have pursued less aggressive treatment, have more delays in treatment, and are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to white patients, and that’s really a large gap that we need to do more research on to close.

With every cancer, and prostate cancer is no exception, screening is so important. If we’re able to screen and diagnose a cancer as early as possible, that gives us the best chance to cure cancer and for the best outcome for the patient. So access to screening is very, very important. I cannot stress that enough.

Access to clinical trials is also important. Clinical trials are the way for patients to access the latest, most promising treatment available. And we actually know from a lot of research that patients who are on clinical trials do better, live longer than patients who are not on clinical trials, and I think a lot of it’s because of the access to the latest agents. And so, being able to try to tackle this issue of access to screening for early detection and access to clinical trials, I think will be really important for us to tackle and reduce and minimize and eliminate the disparities that we see in prostate cancer.

I think the other really important aspect of disparities is actually also, I think, patient knowledge. Not every patient who has cancer who goes to see a specialist and they’re told the information, I don’t think that as physicians we do a good enough job of explaining a patient’s diagnosis and options to patients. And what we know from research is that a lot of patients leave the consultation not completely understanding what they were just talking about. They may not know how aggressive the cancer is, they may not know exactly what options are available, and I think that’s the communication aspect, whether it’s from the physician side or from the patient’s receiving side, we know that that’s not as good as possible.

And we also know that when a patient does not fully understand their diagnosis, that might lead to wrong decisions about delaying treatment and about wrong decisions in terms of choosing treatments that’s less aggressive than it should be. And so I think being able to work on better communication, better understanding of the critical information that’s transferred during consultation, I think, will be another way to address disparities that we see in prostate cancer.

Lisa Hatfield:

Great. Thank you. And backing up just a little bit, when you were talking about one of the factors being geographical rural area, if you had a patient come in and say, “Hey, I just read about this trial, but I live really far away from an academic center, a center that is running this trial,” do most clinical trials require a patient to live close to that center if they want to access a trial, or can they just check in occasionally? How do those typically work?

Dr. Ronald Chen:

I think that patients who live far away from a major cancer center can still find ways to participate in clinical trials because not all clinical trials require a patient to live close by. I’ll give an example.

I work at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, and we offer a lot of clinical trials. We understand that Kansas is a rural state, and we have a lot of places in Kansas where patients don’t live close to where we are in Kansas City. So what we have done at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, is actually, we have partnered with a lot of the smaller cancer programs around the state, so then we can all offer the same clinical trials. Even though, even trials that we offer at University of Kansas in Kansas City, through our partnership with smaller cancer centers around the state, patients can actually enroll in clinical trials and be treated closer to home on the same trial.

So I think that really increases access. But that’s only possible if a patient has heard about that opportunity and are able to then seek that out. But the network has been set up in our state, and some other cancer centers around the country have similar networks to try to increase that access.

I think the other thing to say is that there are many clinical trials for advanced prostate cancer using chemotherapy and more increasingly, oral pills to treat cancer. And you can absolutely have the opportunity of signing up for a trial, and if that includes a new treatment that’s an oral pill, maybe you only have to go for a visit every few months for a check-up, but you can take that prescription and the pill at home without having to have frequent visits. And I think that also makes a clinical trial participation feasible for a lot of patients.

So I really do think that, I think we’ve made a lot of improvements in clinical trial access over the past few years. I actually think the COVID pandemic has forced us to think about how to do this, and I think we’re doing a better job than we were five years ago. And so, I think even for patients who live in rural areas, clinical trial participation is possible in a lot of situations. 

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Understanding Recommended PSA Screening Age and Frequency In Prostate Cancer

Understanding Recommended PSA Screening Age and Frequency In Prostate Cancer from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What do prostate cancer screening guidelines recommend for PSA screening age and frequency? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington explains different guidelines and patient groups who should receive PSA screening sooner or more frequently than the general population.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

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How Can Prostate Cancer Stigmas and Misconceptions Be Addressed

How Can Prostate Cancer Stigmas and Misconceptions Be Addressed?

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

And, Dr. Nyame, can you comment on the recommended age of first PSA screening and then the subsequent screenings, the frequency of subsequent screenings.

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

Yeah, so there are a lot of different guidelines out there, unfortunately that don’t all agree, the most current ones from the American Neurologic Association and the American Cancer Society are rooted in the best available evidence and both recommend that high-risk populations which include people of African ancestry, individuals who have strong family histories of prostate cancer, so strong usually means first degree relative, grandfather, father, brother, and it’s important to remember that there’s crossover, so it’s not just prostate cancer, but if breast cancer runs in the family or colon cancer runs in the family, or cancers in general, that can put you in a high-risk category that those individuals should consider screening starting at age 40. The frequency is debatable. We have a study that says that every year for a really high-risk population and PSA test every year, the guidelines will say every two years at the most.

And then it’s important to stop screening around age 69 to 70, especially if your PSA numbers have been really stable, because we can’t over-detect cancers, meaning finding cancers that are going to affect your natural life and that risk goes up if we continue to test unnecessarily as men age, and so somewhere in their early to mid-70s, you definitely want to stop testing.

The most important thing is what is an abnormal PSA, and that varies by your age, so if you have a PSA of 1 when you’re 40, that’s alarming, and that would prompt me to say, “Hey, let’s test every year, and if it gets above 2.5 in the next 5 to 10 years, we’re going to do a biopsy.” You’ve got a PSA of 1, at age 70 that’d be below PSA for your age. And so we use these numbers three or four, but it’s a spectrum. What I would say is, don’t let your PSA get above 10 before you do something regardless of your age, so if you see a pattern of increase certainly as you’re getting above three, four, five and especially if you’re a younger person, you definitely want to make sure you get connected to a urologist.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

How Can Prostate Cancer Stigmas and Misconceptions Be Addressed?

How Can Prostate Cancer Stigmas and Misconceptions Be Addressed? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

 How can prostate cancer stigmas and misconceptions be addressed? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington discusses common concerns and misconceptions, how doctor-patient communication can help, and support resources to aid patients and care partners.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

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Understanding Recommended PSA Screening Age and Frequency In Prostate Cancer

Understanding Recommended PSA Screening Age and Frequency In Prostate Cancer 

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

Dr. Nyame, have you encountered any misconceptions or stigmas related to prostate cancer within the underrepresented communities, and how do you address or mitigate these issues with your patients?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

I think that there are a lot of misconceptions in all communities and stigmas around prostate cancer and its treatments, all the way from the early portion of diagnosis, stigma around maybe the rectal examination if you need one, take me around what may happen if you get a biopsy, misconceptions of biopsy, like will it spread the cancer all around your body, will it affect erectile function. And then through treatments. And so one of the primary jobs I feel like I have as a doctor who specializes in this area, is to take the time to hear patients express these concerns, do not diminish or belittle misconceptions, to really hear them, and then to try and educate and inform people about the realities without over-correcting either.

So someone comes to me and says, “Well, Doc, I hear that if I have surgery, I’m going to have erectile function.” I can’t, I shouldn’t, and I don’t say, Oh, you’re wrong, right? But I might say, “Well, that’s true. If you have poor erections before surgery, a likelihood that they’re going to get better is really low, and they’re likely to go away or diminish, but if you have good erections, that there’s a chance with certain techniques that they can come back and will come back.”And then I usually put something like 50 percent of men who have surgery and/or radiation will have some erectile dysfunction within the five years following their treatment. So it’s important to have a level ground where we share information candidly.

And I think it’s important for patients to come prepared to have these discussions, do your homework by talking to your people in your circles, by looking at trusted resources online from places like the American Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Foundation, cancer centers produce their own information and be prepared to have these discussions.

My activation tip is the same as before, I think that building a community of survivors to share your concerns with and to get knowledge from is really important because there is no better source of information than the lived experience, and I think those individuals, especially the ones who volunteer to lead support groups and to share their stories, they’re wanting to impart their experience with other folks to empower them and support them, so it’s usually a really fantastic community to support understanding your diagnosis and what your journey is going to be like better and also a place to go to once you’ve experienced some of these things, right? It’s not just about the misconceptions up front and stigmas up front, but post-diagnosis and treatment, there are other concerns that may come up, and having the right network can sometimes help you navigate finding the solutions and the resources that are going to support you best.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival | Black and Latinx Disparities

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival | Black and Latinx Disparities from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

For advanced prostate cancer diagnosis and survival, what are some disparities that Black and Latinx patients can help overcome? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington discusses ways that Black and Latinx communities can help shift the power dynamic for patients to help drive prostate cancer research efforts.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

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Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials _ Is Mistrust a Barrier

Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Is Mistrust a Barrier

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

So a shout-out to Dr. Nyame for an outstanding article that you wrote. I’m going to read a quote from that. Worldwide Men of African Ancestry Demonstrate Worse Outcomes in Prostate Cancer, a phenomenon driven largely by social factors that inform biologic, environmental, and healthcare risks. So, Dr. Nyame, considering the disparities and taboos on prostate cancer, how can Black and Latinx men including their care partners play a role in eliminating these racial disparities surrounding prostate cancer diagnosis and survival rates?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

I think because of the nature of what drives these disparities, there is no doubt that cancer is a biologic phenomenon, and so there is no reason to ignore biology, but a lot of inequity in the majority of inequity is rooted in structural and social inequities that really inform health, and when I look at our traditional mechanisms for providing healthcare, there is such a power differential, whether it’s in how we provide clinical care or how we do research, and so we as a research team here at the University of Washington, fundamentally believe that we have to reverse those roles that we have to hand the power back to community, so that they’re an equal partner at the table when we do the work that we do. And so we do a lot of work that is centered around engaging community and patients and partnering with community and patients, and I think that’s one way to ensure that we develop research and interventions that create equity.

My activation tip in this particular space is for Black and Latinx communities to think of ways to be partners in research and to really embrace the fact that it is their right to be at the table when we make decisions about how research is conducted, what the results of our research means and how we share those results so that they have impact in our communities, and so there are a variety of ways to be partners in research, sometimes it’s literally being part of the research team, like we do on showing up to meetings every week, and being engaged in the work in all forms, just asking to participate in the trial, being a member and a participant in the trial and making sure that your experience counts in the way we think about advancing the field of prostate cancer and making it better for everybody.

Sherea Cary:

My activation tip in this area for care partners would be encouraging communication, encouraging the patient to share with others, other men, what their experience has been. It seems to me that when you’re in community with other people and you have something in common then the person who is experiencing cancer or an illness, feel a connection, if they know that someone that they know has had it and survived it and seems to be doing well, that’s encouraging to them, and then we also want that person to pay it forward.

So what I remember about my dad is that after he had his cancer diagnosis, he would share with other men who were facing, who were having testing done and then who had been diagnosed, he talked to them about what happened with them, and they had their own sense of community.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What should advanced prostate cancer patients expect for treatment impact? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington explains common treatment side effects, advice for easing physical side effects, and ways for patients and care partners to find support.

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Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials _ Is Mistrust a Barrier

Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Is Mistrust a Barrier

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival _ Black and Latinx Disparities

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival | Black and Latinx Disparities

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

There is often a tendency to associate advanced prostate cancer with a risk to relationship intimacy. And can you speak to sexual dysfunction and other lifestyle concerns when it comes to prostate cancer and that diagnosis?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

So, prostate cancer, it’s important to remember that the prostate itself is a sex organ for men, right? Its primary purpose is to produce seminal fluid, the fluid that comes out with ejaculation. And it’s closely linked to a whole lot of structures in your pelvis that support, you know, erectile function and sexual function. All of our treatments have the very real potential to impact sexuality and sexual function. And, I think part of what’s important to do is you go into these and to your conversation with your doctors is to understand how your sexual function, your urinary function, and sometimes your bowel function are going to be impacted by these treatments.

And to get some real clarity about what life will look like for you post-treatment and the setting of advanced cancer, there’s also the added potential of impact to sexual function from the hormone suppression. When we take away your testosterone, oftentimes we take away things like libido or your sexual desire, and we can impact erectile function as well.

You know, things that can help overcome some of the side effects of that hormone suppression are definitely diet and exercise, being active, keeping your muscle mass up, having good dietary habits seem to help. We have a lot of mixed reviews and the literature about the benefit, but I, yeah, I’m a strong believer that the healthier you can be as you undergo these treatments, the better you’re going to do overall. My activation tip when it comes to these new diagnoses is to really invest in advocacy organizations that exist in your community so that you can be connected to other men who are undergoing treatment to have candid conversations about life as a prostate cancer survivor. Organizations like ZERO – the End of Prostate Cancer. There are local groups the NASPCC, there are just chapters and groups of men all across the country that gather to talk about their journey.

And I think that that can be a really wonderful network to better understand what treatment realities may look like for you, but also to support the emotional and physical toll that treatment may take on you. And I think that, that being part of those networks actually will also arm you and empower you to have really good conversations with your doctors to understand what resources are available to support you in your survivorship.

What a lot of men and individuals of prostate cancer aren’t told is that there are some solutions for some of these problems may not be like it was before, but there are many treatments that can exist and do exist that can help preserve certain portions of this quality of life, these quality of life components. And if you don’t know about them, you can’t ask about them. And if you’re not willing to confront them, you may not ask about them and suffer unnecessarily.

My activation tip for care partners related to this question would be, have the tough conversation. Talk about having the tough conversation, schedule a time to try and do it. Don’t do the tough conversation when the football game is on, on Sunday evening. Don’t have it on Wednesday night when the baseball playoffs are going on, but have that conversation so that the care partner can help advocate for the patient about those things that the patient may feel uncomfortable talking about. But if we don’t talk about it, we can’t work on it. And if we don’t work on it, we can’t fix it. So it is important to have the tough conversation.

Lisa Hatfield:

Right, thank you both Dr. Nyame and Sherea, who is a care partner. Thank you for that. Those activation tips.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What emerging advanced prostate cancer treatments are showing promise? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington shares his perspective about the treatment landscape, updates on clinical trials showing promise, and how to help ensure optimal patient care.

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Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials _ Is Mistrust a Barrier

Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Is Mistrust a Barrier

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival _ Black and Latinx Disparities

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival | Black and Latinx Disparities

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

Can you speak to the current treatment landscape and any new research coming out about advanced prostate cancer treatment that you are excited about? And how do you work with your patients to make treatment decisions, particularly those in underrepresented communities?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

So, two very different questions. The first thing I’ll say is the landscape is changing, and there are a lot of exciting things. There are some trials that are showing that the combination of systemic therapies like the hormone blockade, whether it be hormone blockade at a large level, at the cell level with some of those novel agents like abiraterone (Zytiga) and enzalutamide (Xtandi) or even chemotherapy, how we combine those are all very exciting. But we also know that local control of the prostate, so either using radiation to the prostate, which was shown to be beneficial in a clinical trial from the UK called STAMPEDE, we have an ongoing clinical trial called SWOG 1802, which is looking at whether surgery locally to the prostate can add additional benefit to men with advanced prostate cancer.

So I think it’s exciting to understand how we can improve survival. It used to be around three-year survival for prostate cancer when you were diagnosed with advanced forms. We’ve moved that to beyond five years because of how many incredible new advances we have and these combinations of local therapy and systemic therapy. We also have new drugs coming into the landscape like lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan (Pluvicto), which is a PSMA tagged radioligand which has, you know, shown some really great results in the castration-resistant or hormone resistant space that’s being tested now earlier in the hormone sensitive space and high risk localized space.

So there are a lot of really fantastic and exciting new advances. I’m skipping over other types of medications that are really in the precision oncology space, like the PARP inhibitors which are shown to be beneficial in people who have, you know, certain genetic, you know mutations and DNA recombination.

So I think we continue to see evolution in this space where, you know, we used to sort of see this cancer as a one size fits all. And you know, we sort of try to sometimes hit a square peg into a round hole, and now we’re able to really say, okay, your cancer has these features and this combination of things is what’s going to work best. But the problem with that is the more nuanced and the more personalized our care gets, the more opportunity there is for people who are on the margins to be lost.

And so, you know, our historically, you know, marginalized and minoritized populations are sometimes going to be the ones at highest risk for not getting the latest and greatest. One of the things that I’m really interested in supporting and seeing supported in cancer centers and in clinical sites across the country is patient navigation.

Providing services that help people get connected to all the different types of doctors, all the different types of institutions that might offer them the treatments and the workups that they need to make sure that they get access to the best care that’s available. And that’s not only supporting the patient oftentimes, but that’s supporting their caregivers, their families, and making sure that what is a really complex process. It’s not just going in for one doctor’s visit oftentimes, right?

Seeing a lot of different specialists, getting a lot of different tests. But that process is supported for people that have especially among people that have significant social needs and may not be able to navigate that on their own. My activation tip in this space is to absolutely do your homework and find resources to help you navigate this very confusing and very busy landscape when you have your diagnosis.

A lot of cancer centers have patient navigators, okay? And if they don’t, they should. So that is one resource that you should not be afraid to ask for and utilize is someone from the doctor’s office. That’s just going to take the time to make sure if you need to be connected to an insurance, you know agency like Medicare or Medicaid, that you’re connected, that if there are certain appointments you need to make, that they help you schedule and if you need transportation support, that they help connect you to that. And so finding those resources, whether it’s through your community and peer network or through the cancer center, is really important to make sure that you can get as comprehensive of care as you can.

Sherea Cary:

My activation tip for care partners when addressing things like treatment and new research is for the care partner to be as informed as possible about other health issues that the patient may have, and to be transparent with the oncologist about what other things are going on in the patient’s life to make sure that they fit some of the new research that’s coming out or be able to, or the patient and the care partner are able to overcome those barriers that may separate them in some of the treatment decisions. 

Lisa Hatfield:

Right, thank you both Dr. Nyame and Sherea, who is a care partner. Thank you for that. Those activation tips. 

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Is Mistrust a Barrier?

Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Is Mistrust a Barrier? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Is medical mistrust a barrier to prostate cancer clinical trials participation? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington discusses the history of medical abuse with some people of color and how medical professionals must guard against excluding some patients from clinical trials.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

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Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Emerging Promising Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival _ Black and Latinx Disparities

Advanced Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Survival | Black and Latinx Disparities

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

 My question about barriers is about the historical mistrust of trials. Do you find that fear and mistrust is a barrier? Have you experienced that at all in your practice?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

There is no doubt that we have a history of medical and clinical abuse of vulnerable populations. We oftentimes point to examples like Tuskegee as an example of medical abuse. But medical abuse and medicine started in the slave chattels, and we have it, we have documented and published examples of Black slaves in the U.S. being the subjects of medical experimentation that’s carried out into, you know, the early forms of formal medical education where patients who showed up to county hospitals and public hospitals were subject to experimentation that no doubt has a deep rooted effect on populations of color who seek clinical care from academic institutions. However, we can’t let that history be an excuse for excluding Black and Brown populations from clinical trials. And what happens now is oftentimes I hear, well, these folks are, don’t trust us.

And so what can we do to build the trust? Well, in that process, we oftentimes fail to just ask people whether or not they want to participate in trials. There’s this presumption that while people aren’t interested, and I think what we need to do is ask everybody that comes through our doors to consider a clinical trial and to think about what barriers truly exist to prevent people from participating. because right now, if we really rely on this mistrust and distrust as a viewpoint of why people aren’t participating in trial, then we actually, we put the blame on our patients, right? And we don’t actually put the blame on ourselves as the main drivers of non-participation or what really it’s not a participation issue. It’s an exclusionist issue, right? We propagate a history of excluding you know, people of color from clinical trials.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Why Black and Latinx Participation Is Vital

Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Why Black and Latinx Participation Is Vital from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Why is advanced prostate clinical trial participation important for Black and Latinx patients? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington explains how clinical trial participation helps patients and solutions toward removing barriers to participation.

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Related Resources:

Prostate Cancer Screening and Outcomes _ Impact of Racial Disparities

Prostate Cancer Screening and Outcomes | Impact of Racial Disparities

Understanding the Role of a Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Care

Understanding the Role of a Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Care

What Can Signal Hormone-Sensitive Advanced Prostate Cancer

What Can Signal Hormone-Sensitive Advanced Prostate Cancer?

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

Dr. Nyame, the importance of clinical trial participation can’t be underscored enough in cancer care. Can you speak to advanced prostate cancer clinical trials specifically for Black and Latinx men, and critically important, how are you and your colleagues removing barriers to accessing care and underrepresented communities, including the access to those clinical trials?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

Yeah, I can’t state this enough. Clinical trials are a form of high-quality care, and I think a lot of people don’t understand that clinical trials don’t just test you in a vacuum with something that we think is really promising versus nothing at all. Clinical trials often are going to test a standard of care, so what we do currently versus something standard of click care and something that we think has benefit, and so at the very least, when you participate in the clinical trial, you are going to get what we think works best currently.

And then there’s the additional benefit that you might get something that we think works a little bit better or a lot better than what we do currently, and you do it in a space where people are monitoring you really closely, right? Because the clinical trial needs to collect data and understand how things work and how well they work. So it is a form of really high quality care, and I urge Black, Latino, and other minoritized patient populations to find ways to get access to this really high quality care. Now, what we have to do as medical institutions, as cancer center, is figure out ways to remove the barriers that limit people’s ability to participate in clinical trials.

Those barriers are usually social barriers, right? It is the, do I have the ability to take off time from work to participate in this trial? How’s this going to affect my household if I’ve got to come in my case to Seattle and take a whole day off from work to participate? Can I afford transportation to be coming to the cancer center every week? You know, do I have child care to participate in this trial? And so we as cancer centers are starting to think more holistically about how we can remove social barriers to clinical trial participation. And I do think until we get that right a lot of the inability for marginalized and minoritized populations to participate in clinical trials falls at our feet. So what are we doing to address barriers? Well, I think we’re trying to think about ways of putting clinical trials directly in communities.

So some of those social barriers are removed so that it’s not always on the patient to come to us. We’re thinking of ways to support those patients that have to absolutely come to us for a variety of reasons for a clinical trial so that there isn’t that financial and social burden. But it’s very much a work in progress. And I think we’re really in the early phases of understanding how we can support people. My activation tip when it comes to clinical trials and prostate cancer is to ask for them and to demand opportunities to participate in them because they are such high, they’re such incredible forms of high quality care.

And I think by participating in a clinical trial, you’re giving yourself and future versions of yourself and your community opportunities to have better outcomes when it comes to these cancers. And I think the second portion of that is to demand and ask from your cancer centers that they find ways to support you in participating in those clinical trials. Because as a cancer center and as an academic clinical institution, our mission is to serve. And we do have resources that we can sometimes make available to make sure that you can afford to and not be put out by participating in a clinical trial.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

What Can Signal Hormone-Sensitive Advanced Prostate Cancer?

What Can Signal Hormone-Sensitive Advanced Prostate Cancer? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Advanced prostate cancer patients may experience common symptoms, but what are they? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington explains the range of symptoms that metastatic patients may experience and common treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

Related Resources:

Prostate Cancer Screening and Outcomes _ Impact of Racial Disparities

Prostate Cancer Screening and Outcomes | Impact of Racial Disparities

Understanding the Role of a Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Care

Understanding the Role of a Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Care

Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials _ Why Black and Latinx Participation Is Vital

Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Why Black and Latinx Participation Is Vital

Transcript:

Lisa Hatfield:

What is advanced hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, and are there specific symptoms or warning signs to be aware of?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

When we have prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate. We define that as advanced or sometimes we call it metastatic prostate cancer. And early on in that process, we can control and often kill many of those prostate cancer cells by taking away testosterone. Testosterone ends up being like the fuel that allows these cancers to grow. And so when we say a prostate cancer is hormone-sensitive, what we mean is it’s sensitive to testosterone, and by shutting off testosterone, we can effectively manage and or kill those prostate cancer cells.

Over time, when we shut off that testosterone, prostate cancers will learn how to produce internally their own testosterone or develop resistance or find ways to still survive in the absence of testosterone, and when that happens, we call that pheromone-resistant or sometimes you will hear the term castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Advanced prostate cancers are going to be in a category of cancers where people may have symptoms, those symptoms aren’t always specific, they can range from difficulty urinating, having blood in the urine, having fractures of bones that have been invaded with cancer, weight loss, loss of appetite, and so that is sort of a broad spectrum of symptoms that someone could potentially experience with an advanced prostate cancer, but not all folks are going to have those particular symptoms, because oftentimes when you have severe prostate cancer-related symptoms, those are in pretty advanced stages, meaning you have a pretty high amount of cancer that is outside of the prostate.

My activation tip, when it comes to hormone-sensitive prostate cancer that is advanced, is to be informed about the latest therapies that we offer in this space, because it is constantly changing 15 years ago. The mainstay of treatment was just hormone blockade, and we put people on medications that took their testosterone away or offered them surgeries to take away testosterone from the testicles. We then added on these novel testosterone or androgen-blocking medications like abiraterone (Zytiga) or enzalutamide (Xtandi), which people will hear about when they look up the space of what their diagnosis, then we added on chemotherapy in the form of docetaxel (Taxotere), and now we’re doing combinations where we add the hormone blockade and medicine like abiraterone and chemotherapy, what we call triplet therapy as now first-line therapy.

And so this space is changing so much that when you have this diagnosis, you need to take a pause and do your homework so that you are prepared to have a conversation with your medical oncologist about whether you need doublet therapy, one of the two medications or triplet therapy, or if you even need to consider the addition of something like radiation to the prostate. All of these are standard of care, and it’s no longer just a one medication pipeline for treatment is really an individualized and complex therapy.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

Understanding the Role of a Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Care

Understanding the Role of a Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Care from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Prostate cancer screening can involve different tests, but which ones are essential? Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington explains a common misconception about a prostate cancer test and and the effectiveness of PSA blood tests.

See More from [ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer

Related Resources:

Prostate Cancer Screening and Outcomes _ Impact of Racial Disparities

Prostate Cancer Screening and Outcomes | Impact of Racial Disparities

What Can Signal Hormone-Sensitive Advanced Prostate Cancer

What Can Signal Hormone-Sensitive Advanced Prostate Cancer?

Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials _ Why Black and Latinx Participation Is Vital

Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials | Why Black and Latinx Participation Is Vital

Transcript:

Lisa:

Dr. Nyame, could you explain what a digital rectal exam is and its role in the prostate cancer screening, and is the screening invasive and can men prepare for it?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

So I am so glad that this question is here because I think for far too long, there has been this misinformation that prostate cancer screening that is effective requires a digital rectal examination. And we have a lot of data that demonstrates to us that for screening to finding cancers early, that the digital rectal examination is not necessary and it’s not effective. Effective screening requires a blood test. And that is the PSA blood test. Now, if your blood test is abnormal, we absolutely require the rectal examination for what is called staging, and that’s to understand whether you have an advanced cancer or not. That digital rectal examination means that a provider uses a lubricated gloved finger to feel the prostate through the rectum that is an invasive test, but I would say absolutely do not let the thought of the finger exam as many of the men call it, be an impediment to being screened, because really what you need to catch your cancer early is a blood test.

A blood test that most people of African ancestry should be considering in their 40s. My activation tip when it comes to prostate cancer screening is to be informed on what the best current practices are and to understand that simply getting a blood test that you can add on to your standard routine physical examination and visit with your primary care doctor starting at age 40, could significantly increase your chances of having your cancer detected early when it is curable.

Cure rates of localized prostate cancer, so cancer that is only in your prostate is somewhere between 97 to 99 percent when we catch it early, and so this blood test can save lives, we have a lot of information that demonstrates that. And I think by being aware of the benefit of screening and the harms. Okay, false positive tests, infections, some of the other things that can come downstream, you can be well informed to make a decision that suits you, and you can have these conversations with your doctor to understand whether testing is appropriate for you and when and how to pursue testing to be screened for prostate cancer.

Sherea Cary:

My activation tip for care partners it’s important that the caregiver know what the blood test, what the range should be, so that when the results are back the care partner will understand whether you or the patient need to be concerned. It’s important to have the blood test done, the PSA test, it’s important to know what it detects as a care partner, and it’s also important to know what is the range of what is normal or what is something that needs to be examined further. Knowledge is the key as a care partner.

Lisa Hatfield:

Right, thank you both Dr. Nyame and Sherea, who is a care partner. Thank you for that. Those activation tips. 

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey