Institute for Prostate Cancer Research (IPCR)
Enhancing Quality of Life
Quality of life after local treatments
IPCR researchers have shown that survival rates are comparable for the two major localized treatments for prostate cancer: radiation by seeds or external beam and prostate-removal surgery by open or robotic approaches.
Using IPCR and other large institutional databases, researchers continue to conduct comprehensive studies of sexual, bowel and urinary function among men who undergo surgery or radiation treatments and also to compare their effectiveness at cancer control. Since both forms of treatment carry potentially disruptive side-effects, this knowledge allows men to make treatment decisions based on quality-of-life concerns.
Better local therapy
For some men, it is necessary to remove the nerves controlling erections for optimal cancer control. IPCR is a leading national center for using and improving nerve graft techniques in this surgery to enhance erectile return.
IPCR is investigating better ways both to teach and perform robotic surgery using simulation.
It now has been shown by IPCR researchers and others that different and more extensive removal of pelvic lymph nodes at surgery can improve surgical results. IPCR researchers continue to adopt and improve these newer approaches for those men who have more serious local disease.
IPCR has shown that local persistent disease after localized therapies is a major problem in increasing cancer progression. Radiation therapy after surgery for local recurrence, while effective, can be improved by altering the radiation fields.
In the laboratory, IPCR researchers are investigating new ways of destroying local cancer using electrical fields or special light activation approaches. The goal of these projects is to develop ways of destroying the local cancer with fewer side effects.
Quality of life in advanced disease
Muscle wasting, weight loss and fatigue are significant problems for advanced prostate cancer patients. In the laboratory, IPCR is investigating the causes and possible treatments for these symptoms. Researchers are also conducting clinical trials of new drugs that may help prevent the muscle wasting that occurs with hormone therapy.
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