Prostate Ca patients urged to consult a medical oncologist

November 1, 2004

New York--Men with prostate cancer are being urged to seek the advice of a medical oncologist in a new educational campaign launched by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a public service announcement featuring golfer and prostate cancer survivor Arnold Palmer. In the PSA, Palmer says making decisions on a golf shot "always involves gathering information and advice from other sources," and that a "similar approach" helped him make decisions about his prostate cancer treatment.

"Along with my urologist, [I] put together all the right players for my health care team," Palmer says in the PSA.

Coinciding with the campaign, the Prostate Cancer Foundation issued a "report to the nation" monograph outlining an agenda for prostate cancer research needed to spur the development of better treatments and a cure for the disease. Of significance to urologists and other providers, a key theme of the report is the need for multidisciplinary collaboration among urologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists to optimize patient care.

Chemo data provide impetus The educational campaign and report come soon after results of large-scale randomized controlled trials show, for the first time, that chemotherapy using docetaxel (Taxotere) can provide a survival benefit in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

"With the recent findings of Taxotere in hormone-resistant prostate cancer, medical oncologists do have a strong role in this disease," Dr. Petrylak said here at a Prostate Cancer Foundation press conference. "We can now consider this to be a team approach."

Dr. Petrylak was lead investigator in one of the two studies, known as SWOG 99-16, which showed that docetaxel/estramustine provided a 20% improvement in survival over mitoxantrone/prednisone in androgen-independent prostate cancer. A second study, TAX 327, demonstrated a median survival of 18.9 months versus 16.4 months for mitoxantrone/prednisone.