Researchers at London’s Lawson Health Research Institute are collaborating with scientists at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto for a study aimed at improving outcomes for patients undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer, the most common cancer among Canadian men.
The researchers say the study will look at incorporating advanced imaging technology into the treatment process to give clinicians a clearer picture of the size of a patient’s prostate cancer, and its location in the prostate.
Lawson officials note that current CT scans provide doctors only the location and boundaries of the prostate, not the location of the cancer itself.
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By integrating two other types of imaging — magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PSMA) scans — doctors will be able to see where the cancer is and target it with more intense and targeted radiation therapy, said Dr. Glenn Bowman, a scientist with Lawson and a radiation oncologist at LHSC’s London Regional Cancer Programme.
The use of the two imaging techniques will also help to clarify whether the cancer has spread to another location in the patient’s pelvic area, said Dr. Andrew Loblau, a scientist at Sunnybrook.
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“The combination of PSMA and SBRT” — stereotaxic body radiotherapy, and the type of targeted radiation used in the study — “gives us the ability to save some normal tissue and significantly reduce treatment times,” Leblau said in a statement.
Lawson officials said fifty men with advanced prostate cancer will be recruited for the study, which will see them all receive PSMA PET scans at St Joseph’s Healthcare of London. The group will be monitored for five years to determine if targeted, intensive radiotherapy is working and if other treatments are needed.
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According to Public Health Canada, prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Canada, and the most common type of cancer in men.
At least one in nine men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, with increased chances of developing prostate cancer over the age of 50. Most diagnoses occur in men in their 60s, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
The community’s website says risk factors for prostate cancer include a family history of prostate cancer, being black, being overweight or obese, height as an adult, and inherited genetic mutations (usually HOXB13 and BRCA2 mutations).
Possible risk factors include diets high in dairy and calcium, low blood levels of vitamin E or selenium, working with certain chemicals such as pesticides, cadmium and chemicals used in rubber manufacturing, prostatitis, smoking, and high androgen levels. As the community says.
Information about prostate cancer symptoms and treatment can be found on the CCS website.
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