EAU 2019: The Patient’s Perspective on Prostate Cancer

Barcelona, Spain (UroToday.com) As a prostate cancer patient himself, Mr. Dowling gave his perspective on the disease.  Mr. John Dowling is the former Chairman of MAC – Men Against Cancer, an Irish-based patient support group for men with prostate and testicular cancer. In addition, he is the Secretary of Europe UOMO, which supports national organizations to deliver prostate cancer services in an effective manner and in line with national priorities. The organization works for prostate cancer patients in Europe under one umbrella and strives for better treatment, care and quality of life for all prostate cancer patients.

His talk focused on some important epidemiological data coming from Europe and some points to consider when treating these patients. He first showed the percentage of men that are aware of prostate cancer risks and PSA testing. According to this data, less than 50% of men in Europe were aware of the risk of this cancer and that PSA testing even exists (Figure 1). Next, he showed data regarding health care professionals promoting PSA testing, and only 50% were in-fact doing so (figure 2). Figure 3 demonstrates the rate of men diagnosed with prostate cancer that had been treated within a month, showing that only 19% of the diagnosed men meet this threshold. Lastly, figure 4 shows the percentage of low-risk prostate cancer patients that were offered active surveillance in Europe, culminating to a total of 64%.

Figure 1 – Data from Europe regarding men that are aware of prostate cancer risks and PSA testing:

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Figure 2 – Data from Europe regarding health care professional that are promoting PSA testing: 

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Figure 3 – Data from Europe demonstrating the percentage of men with prostate cancer treated within one month of diagnosis:

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Figure 4 – Data from Europe regarding the rates of active surveillance that was offered to low-risk prostate cancer patients:

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Next, Mr. Dowling discussed the important topic of adverse effects resulting from the treatment of prostate cancer. He showed a graph (Figure 5) demonstrating the correlation between side effects and quality of life. This graph clearly shows that as the stage of the disease increase, the adverse effect occurring after treatment are worse, and the patient’s quality of life decreases. It is therefore important to diagnose and subsequently treat cancer as early as possible before the disease progresses. Mr. Dowling also mentioned that urologists should focus more on the preoperative explanation of the effect of surgery on the sexual function and what can be done in this matter following surgery, as this needs to improve.

Mr. Dowling concluded his talk and stated that it is time for a revised strategy that should include increasing awareness of prostate cancer and PSA screening among men at risk and make sure patients are diagnosed and treated in multidisciplinary centers. 

Figure 5 – The correlation between side effects, quality of life, and disease stage and treatment:

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Presented by: John Dowling, Secretary, Europa Uomo, The European Prostate Cancer Coalition, Dublin, Ireland 

Written by: Hanan Goldberg, MD, Urologic Oncology Fellow (SUO), University of Toronto, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre @GoldbergHanan at the 34th European Association of Urology (EAU 2019) #EAU19 conference in Barcelona, Spain, March 15-19, 2019.
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