Posts

Should You Have Prostate Cancer Genetic Testing?

Should You Have Prostate Cancer Genetic Testing? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Should you ask for prostate cancer genetic testing? Dr. Nima Sharifi discusses prostate cancer genetics and shares his perspective on how testing can help ensure the best care for a patient.

Dr. Nima Sharifi is Director of the Genitourinary (GU) Malignancies Research Center at the Cleveland Clinic. Learn more here.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: How Do Genetic Test Results Impact Your Options?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: How Do Genetic Test Results Impact Your Options?

Targeted Prostate Cancer Therapies vs. Chemotherapy: What’s the Difference?

Prostate Cancer Staging: What Patients Should Know

 


Transcript:

Dr. Sharifi:

I think it’s okay when you’re speaking with your physician to say that you’re concerned about the genetics of prostate cancer. You can ask about personalized medicine treatment options, and whether genetic testing would make a difference for treatments.

 

And you can also bring up the concern about family members, and that there may be an inherited or heritable component of cancer that could be passed down, for example, from one generation to the next and that could be shared among siblings. I think there’s nothing wrong with bringing that up. And I would suggest that if that’s a concern, that a man does bring that up with their physician.                                   

 

So, it turns out that there are certain germline mutations that can predispose to several different types of cancers.

 

For example, these BRCA mutations can predispose to developing prostate and perhaps more aggressive prostate cancer, but they can also predispose to developing breast cancer. So, if you look, for example, at members of a family who are related, you may see that certain cancers may develop in multiple family members. So, if you see that that – If you look at your family history and you see that that is the case, then you may want to think about genetic testing and perhaps to see a genetic counselor to talk about getting tested.

What Do Prostate Cancer Patients Need to Know About COVID-19?

What Do Prostate Cancer Patients Need to Know About COVID-19? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

Due to COVID-19, many patients with prostate cancer must follow new guidelines to receive care. Dr. Alicia Morgans, a hematology and oncology specialist, explains precautions patients should take and the role telemedicine plays in prostate cancer care.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Prostate Cancer Research News

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Men with prostate cancer, like every patient with cancer, do need to take precautions because of COVID, but the degree of caution that they need to take really depends on a couple of factors. One is probably that individual’s age, with older people being more susceptible to having severe complications related to COVID, especially if they have other medical conditions like COPD or lung disease or heart disease with a history of things like heart attack or stents in the heart. Things like diabetes can even increase the risk of having complications, according to some studies, for people with cancer. So, these are things to think about. Comorbid illness and certainly advancing age.

The other thing that I always think about is what kind of therapy are you getting as a man with prostate cancer? Are you getting something that really is only affecting hormones, like lowering testosterone levels or blocking testosterone signaling? That’s the male hormone. Hormonal treatments don’t suppress a person’s immune system. So, they don’t change the way that an individual’s immune system can attack the COVID virus and protect them from that illness. And those kinds of treatments are not as dangerous to use in a pandemic like we’re experiencing now, because they don’t affect a person’s ability – their innate and normal ability – to fight off the disease.

Things like chemotherapy, on the other hand, do suppress the immune system. They make it difficult for the immune system to fight things like that SARS virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19, because it suppresses the immune system such that a patient can’t mount the normal response that he would have against that virus if it came into his body.

When we don’t have an immune system, we can be more susceptible to things like that SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, but we can be susceptible to things that we would find in our normal environment and sometimes even to infections from bacteria that live in our body all the time. So, things like chemotherapy can be challenging whenever you take them. They can be incredibly effective against cancer. And so, it’s always this trade-off.

And if it’s recommended to you, you can get it safely, but taking extra precautions with, of course, washing hands, wearing masks, but also, probably, really still socially distancing even though some of the restrictions in most of the United States have lessened. If you’re on chemotherapy, I would still recommend social distancing and staying out of public places, because you do not necessarily have the immune system that you would normally have to protect yourself from the virus.

Telemedicine has been great for men with prostate cancer when they don’t necessarily need to come in to be seen. This can be really helpful, especially between visits where people are getting injections that they get to lower testosterone as androgen deprivation therapy. If that injection is due every three months or four months, but your doctor wants to check in on you every six weeks or eight weeks, having a telemedicine visit at that interim visit can be really useful so you don’t have to come all the way into the clinic to see the provider.

They can even be useful if you do need to get the injection or you do need to get lab work, because you can get those procedures and then go home and still be safe not sitting in a waiting room, not sitting in a doctor room. And the doctor can usually call and have that telemedicine visit.

For men who have been treated and are simply having their PSA followed because they’ve had a prostate surgery or have had radiation to the prostate and are believed to be cured, as long as they can get that lab work done, the telemedicine visit gives them the opportunity to get the guidance of their doctor who has looked at their lab work, without actually going in to see that doctor in person and potentially put themselves at risk of getting an infection in the in the clinic or the hospital setting.

So, telemedicine is a way for us to really protect our patients and stay engaged while we’re not seeing them in person. But it is still important to do the telemedicine and not just say I’m not going to do anything. And it will be important at some points for many men with prostate cancer to come in at least to do lab work or to get their injections if that’s part of their treatment plan to make sure that they are still being monitored despite the pandemic.

Prostate Cancer Research News

Prostate Cancer Research News from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

Are there developments in prostate cancer research that patients should know about? Dr. Alicia Morgans discusses highlights from the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

What Do Prostate Cancer Patients Need to Know About COVID-19?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Just recently in June, ASCO, which is our American Society of Clinical Oncology, meeting was held here in Chicago, and it was a virtual meeting. It was actually very exciting for people who take care of prostate cancer and for men who have prostate cancer in several advances. Some of those advances were around imaging and new strategies that we’re going to have, I think, in the relatively near future using PSMA-targeted imaging for men who have prostate cancer that is high-risk before they go through things like surgery or radiation, or for men who have a rising PSA after they’ve had their initial treatment for prostate cancer.

We also learned the survival data that was associated with three agents that we now have to treat non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. And this is prostate cancer where we have had a group of men who have already had treatment of their prostate, but now have a rising PSA blood level despite having imaging that doesn’t really show any areas of cancer on the scans. And there are three drugs that we have to use for men with this particular stage of prostate cancer, or state of prostate cancer, and we learned that those drugs not only prolong the time until men develop metastatic disease or disease that we can see on those scans, but they also help men live longer.

And this tells us that if we move those therapies earlier on in the stage of treating prostate cancer, we can actually, probably bend the curve of that man’s survival for the rest of his life. Intervening early, at our earliest opportunity, in this particular situation may be so helpful for men over the rest of their journey, no matter what their next treatments might be.

And finally, we learned information about a drug called lutetium, which is not yet approved for the treatment of prostate cancer, but was tested in a clinical trial for men with more advanced prostate cancer and called metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. And we learned that this drug can be both tolerable and potentially as effective, or perhaps more effective, than the chemotherapy that we have traditionally used in this state. So, lutetium is a drug that we expect will eventually be approved for the treatment of prostate cancer, pending some clinical trial data that we are still waiting for. And that was real exciting, to learn about the upcoming advances with this particular drug.      

Why You Should Consider a Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial

Why You Should Consider a Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

Dr. Alicia Morgans, a hematology and oncology specialist, explains the importance of prostate cancer patients of different geographic locations participating in clinical trials and the role trials plays in clinical care.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Prostate Cancer Research News

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

From my perspective, I think any time in a prostate cancer journey is a great time to think about a clinical trial if that trial is available where you live or is available at a place where you would be willing to travel. We have so much to learn about prostate cancer, about how to continue to provide options to patients, and about how to support men as they go through their treatment. And the only way we can learn those things is if men participate in clinical trials. So importantly, also, we need to have men of diverse backgrounds of diverse races from geographic diversity.

Because if we only study certain people from the city of Chicago, for example, where I live, we’ll really only know what we know about those men. And we won’t necessarily know if we can apply our findings to men who live in Atlanta and are Black. It’s going to be the kind of thing where we have the data, but we don’t necessarily know if it’s going to be the right data for you.

So, the more men of color, the more men from different geographic locations that we can encourage to participate in clinical trials, the more we learn for every patient and the more we are able to take care of the specific and unique needs of you as an individual, which is really a critical part of what we do and why we do what we do. So, participating in clinical trials, no matter who you are, if you’re able, and if you’re willing, is really a great service to you to get, hopefully, better outcomes for you, but also a great service to your community of men with prostate cancer.  

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Which prostate cancer treatment path is best for you? Dr. Alicia Morgans discusses how multiple factors, including disease progression and patient goals, determine which treatment path is best to help improve a patient’s outcome and overall quality of life. 

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

What Do Prostate Cancer Patients Need to Know About COVID-19?

Prostate Cancer Research News

How Does Prostate Cancer Staging Affect Treatment Approaches?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

The main factors I think about when approaching a treatment plan for a patient is to understand is this treatment for cure. Are we able to cure this patient? Is that our goal? Or are we in a situation where we know that the cancer is going to be incurable, but we can prolong that individual’s life and improve the quality of life that he has?

That is a major breakdown or separation point in how we approach treatment. Once we figure that out, we can try to sort through among all the choices. If we’re going to use curative treatment to the prostate itself, what do we think is best for you as an individual man? And what do we think is possible from a medical perspective? Whether that’s radiation or surgery or even just watching and waiting with an active surveillance plan, there may be choices.

And similarly, with metastatic prostate cancer or advanced prostate cancer that’s incurable or not able to be cured, what are the medical treatments that we can use? And what are the choices that you as a man with prostate cancer want to make to really maximize your benefit – thinking through what’s important to you? What barriers do you have? And how do you want to go through your treatment sequence?

We’re actually really fortunate in prostate cancer care to have many choices, whether it’s in treating localized curable prostate cancer or in treating metastatic prostate cancer that we’re really trying to treat to prolong life and improve quality of life. In each setting, in most cases, there are multiple choices to make along the journey. Sometimes these choices would exclude other choices in the future, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you can choose A or B, because in a few months, you’re going to have the opposite option available to you. So, exactly what your choices are going to be are going to be important for you to speak with your doctor about.

But having those choices really empowers men to get engaged in each of these treatment decisions to explain this is my preference for that side effect or this particular toxicity, and I’m going to choose this treatment, because it works best for me because I can get to work or because it doesn’t lead to incontinence or because it doesn’t cause me to lose my hair or whatever the reason is. Men’s preferences can be so importantly incorporated into the treatment decision, because we have all the choices we have in treating prostate cancer.

How Does Prostate Cancer Staging Affect Treatment Approaches?

How Does Prostate Cancer Staging Affect Treatment Approaches? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

Every stage of prostate cancer stage requires different treatment approaches. Dr. Alicia Morgans explains prostate cancer staging and how it impacts treat options.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

What Do Prostate Cancer Patients Need to Know About COVID-19?

Prostate Cancer Research News

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Staging in prostate cancer is a way for people to understand how to best approach the treatment of the disease. To say this a different way, low stages – things like Stage I, II, and usually Stage III – can be treated with local therapies to the prostate itself with a goal of trying to cure the prostate cancer. And some patients who have Stage I disease may not even need active treatment, but could be followed on active surveillance as a way to monitor the cancer and prevent side-effects by simply monitoring until it would actually need treatment. Higher stage, like Stage IV, means that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate.

And it’s still prostate cancer. It just is cancer cells from the prostate that now live in the bones, or live in distant lymph nodes, or live in another organ or place in the body. Those cancer cells are still treated the exact same way we treat prostate cancer in terms of the medical therapies – the injections, the pills, the chemo agents potentially – that we would use to treat those cancer cells, whether they’re in the bones or in the prostate. But when they have spread outside of prostate, that typically means that there’s no longer an opportunity for us to cure that cancer. And we wouldn’t necessarily use things like surgery or radiation to the prostate if the cancer had spread.

I say “wouldn’t necessarily,” because that is certainly an area that’s evolving. And now even men with metastatic prostate cancer or Stage IV prostate cancer can be treated with radiation, in particular, to the prostate, and we know that can be beneficial. So, staging helps us understand how far the cancer has spread or not spread.

And it helps us understand if we can treat that patient with local treatments to the prostate to try to cure them, or if we need to use medical therapies as a major backbone of treatment rather than things like radiation or surgery to treat them for prolonging their life and improving quality of life but knowing that we can’t cure their disease.

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips.

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips. from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Could you be better prepared for your prostate cancer appointment? Prostate cancer specialist, Dr. Alicia Morgans explains what pre-appointment tasks and helpful tools can help ensure patients get the most out of their appointments.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With A Specialist

How Does Prostate Cancer Staging Affect Treatment Approaches?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

There’s not really a question that I think is missed in most appointments when I talk to men with prostate cancer, but there are many men who have a burning question, whatever it may be, and they forget to ask it when we’re in that clinical encounter.

And the advice I would have is it’s really important if you think of it as a question that’s really important to you or even just a fleeting thought, to consider keeping a notebook where you can write it down to remember what that question is. Because if you bring the notebook, even that fleeting thought that you may never think of again is something that you’ve got written down, and you can open that notebook, and you can say, “Hey, I thought this may be a silly question, but what do you think?” And I’m sure that your doctor will answer it.

Questions about “How long do I have?” or “What can I expect?” or “How is this going to end?” or “Where is this going to go?” – these are sometimes questions that are really hard to answer. But even those questions, if that’s what you’re thinking about all the time, are going to be important to at least discuss with your doctor, whether you get a concrete answer or not. That may be an ongoing conversation that you have. But if you trust your doctor, you’ll be able to ask whatever it is that you need and not feel like it’s a silly question, because there really isn’t a silly question.

My best recommendation for patients to think about as they’re preparing for their physician visit is to get an advocate; get somebody to come in with you. And if that individual can’t come in with you, perhaps that individual can be on a cell phone or on FaceTime or engaged in that visit in some way, either in person or virtually.

And to take notes or to ask for things to be printed out that explain what you discussed at your visit, because it is very challenging to take in everything that is discussed in those physician visits and memorize everything when there’s really so much going on in many cases. So, having another set of eyes and ears and having a notebook piece of paper or a printout that really catalogs what was discussed can be really, really helpful in preparing for a visit.

And the other thing is to maybe always end with “Is there anything that I didn’t ask that I should?” or “Is there anything else that I need to know?” And sometimes that will prompt the doctor to say, “Yeah, I got through this whole thing, but I meant to mention this, and I forgot.” So, always leaving that door open in case there’s anything else the doctor needs to mention, and sometimes they just need a little prompt at the end. But I think the advocate’s probably the most important part.

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With a Specialist

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With a Specialist from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

As prostate cancer treatment options continue to expand, it’s important to partner with a physician who is up-to-date on the latest developments. Dr. Alicia Morgans explains why patients should consider seeking a specialist and obtaining a second opinion.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Over the last few years, prostate cancer treatment has been incredibly complicated. And I think I and many in the prostate cancer community would absolutely recommend that men with prostate cancer seek out a prostate cancer specialist to make sure that he has access to someone to get advice and medical recommendations that are going to be the most up-to-date.

It’s incredible to me that in the last few years there have actually been multiple new medications that have been approved, even some as recently as about a month and a half ago. And this landscape that we have to try to take care of men and help them live longer and feel better is constantly changing and hopefully broadening as we find more ways to take care of men with prostate cancer.

And the people that know that best are going to be specialists. And they include medical oncologists, urologists, and radiation oncologists, as well as some palliative care doctors who can really help with being specialists in pain control, constipation, appetite issues, energy issues. So, having a team of specialists is really critical. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to see that specialist for every single appointment that you have for treating your prostate cancer, because many men in the United States who have prostate cancer don’t live very close to a large center where there might be a prostate cancer specialist.

Many men that I take care of actually live several hours away and come to see me once every six months or once a year or if they need advice because something has changed about their cancer. And that is completely okay, and actually, really, I think, a nice way to balance the convenience of having care close to home while still making sure that you have access to someone who is actively engaged in participating in the work to advance therapeutics and other ways of caring for prostate cancer.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re hurting feelings or potentially even offending your doctor if you say that you want to see someone else to get a second opinion or just to get another bit of advice about your cancer. But I think, and I think most doctors think, that at the end of the day part of dealing with cancer is making sure that you have the right treatment for the disease.

But part of taking care of people with cancer and dealing with cancer if you are the patient is making sure that your mind is at peace, that you have tried everything, and looked in every corner to find what you need to get the help that you really do deserve. And I think as we care for men with prostate cancer, we physicians know that we may have the answers for most but not all men, or we may not necessarily have an area of specialty in the particular issue that that man needs help with.

And so, we’re always open – I think I am. And I’m sure most doctors are, too – encouraging people, in fact, to seek second opinions if that’s what they need to either feel like they have access to the treatments that they need or to put their minds at ease. Because it really is the combination of physical care and emotional and mental care that is necessary to heal yourself while you are taking care of yourself with prostate cancer.

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

The actions that a patient takes following their prostate cancer diagnosis could have an impact on their care and treatment options. Expert Dr. Alicia Morgans recommends these three key steps post-diagnosis.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With A Specialist

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

From my perspective, three key steps that a man with prostate cancer would take as he’s getting that first diagnosis would start with getting an advocate – getting someone who can be the extra eyes and ears that you need when you go to a visit or read something that doesn’t quite make sense.

I think this is especially important for doctor visits, where so much information may be put in your lap that it can be really hard for the individual who has prostate cancer to take everything in. And sometimes, having someone who can either take notes or can just be there to listen and to recall things can be really helpful.

The second thing would be to make sure you find a doctor who you can trust. And this sounds really simple, but sometimes can take trying a couple different doctors to really find the one who you feel that you can connect with and who you feel will be able to listen to the questions that you have. Because your questions are valid, and I’m sure that there is a doctor out there who can help answer those questions no matter what they are.

 From my perspective, the third thing that individuals should really make sure that they have is a source of information that they feel they can trust. For many men, this is an online source. But it’s real important to recognize that there is a lot of false information, and there’s a lot of information that’s really not necessarily from your perspective as a man with prostate cancer, but perhaps from someone else’s perspective – still truth, but not necessarily your truth.

So, some of the best sources of information can be from advocacy groups or from medical organizations. Because these are usually going to be vetted by physicians or by groups of patients who really try to present both broad perspectives as well as correct information that will be trustworthy as you move through the journey of prostate cancer.

Spotting False Claims: Tips for Identifying Prostate Cancer Misinformation

Spotting False Claims: Tips for Identifying Prostate Cancer Misinformation from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

While there are many helpful online resources to guide patients in a positive direction, false claims and advertisements about prostate cancer can add confusion. Dr. Alicia Morgans provides insight into how to identify misinformation.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis <new link>
Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips <new link>
Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU? <new link>
 

 

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Some clues that may demonstrate that something is going to be riddled maybe with false claims or false promises would be if there are advertisements for medications that can cure prostate cancer on the computer.

Those medications are probably not real. And if they are, then they should be things that your doctor probably knows about. And so, I would certainly talk to your doctor about any supplements, any special nutrition or shakes or different things that make those claims. Because unfortunately, at this point, we in the medical community do not know of any herbs or spices that could cure prostate cancer. Certainly, there are things that people can take that may be useful and as long as they don’t interfere with the medicines that we’re using, or interact with them in a dangerous way, most doctors are completely okay with people taking them.

But anything that’s charging a lot of money and making really incredible claims is probably, unfortunately, just preying on people who are clearly vulnerable. And you need to be very careful that you’re not giving money away to things that are not real.