Published on August 2, 2017
Have there been advances in treating advanced prostate cancer symptoms? Andrew Schorr discusses approaches for treating symptoms and complications in men with advanced prostate cancer with Dr. Philip Kantoff of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Watch as Dr. Kantoff explains how radiation therapy and various medications could improve a patient’s quality of life.
This roundtable discussion is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank Sanofi Oncology for their support.
Transcript | Advances in Treating Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Complications
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There’s a man from New York. I don’t know if he’s one of your patients. But he got a call from his adult daughter, and things have progressed, and he has pain. He has bone pain. So where are we now in dealing with some of these complications of metastatic disease? Now, not just the treatment of the cancer but the treatment of the complications?
First of all, I want to agree with Dan about this shared decision-making process and having a trusting relationship between the doctor and the patient, and there’s no question that shouldn’t go unanswered. So that’s a critical part of this, and the balance between longevity and quality of life—all those have to be taken into consideration with every decision that’s made.
Symptom control is a very important part of cancer care in general. It’s complex, it’s multidisciplinary and should involve not only the treating physician but other caregivers as well. But right now, probably the most effective way of handling the symptoms is actually treating the cancer. Because we do have, in the case of prostate cancer, many potentially effective therapies that can control the cancer and in turn control the symptoms.
Having said that, there are times when that doesn’t happen, and we do have tools that we use to control pain. We use radiation at times to places in the bone that may be painful. We use narcotics at times. We use other medications that treat the bone that reduce pain, including liquid radiation treatments that control pain in bone.
So we have a lot of modalities. And I will say that the vast majority of patients with prostate cancer when pain becomes an issue, it can be controlled by a variety of different modalities. A patient should not have ongoing pain without it being attended to.
One follow-up question. You were talking about the progress with this meeting and the pace of change, etc. for the treatment of prostate cancer and maybe some identification hopefully approving of who gets what. So related to these complications or side effects, you see progress there too?
Related to the side effects of the treatments.
First, side effects of the disease; you want to reduce the disease. But if let’s say it’s spread, and you have bone pain and things like that, you’re developing it sounds like multidisciplinary…
…multidisciplinary. We involve supportive care folks, we involve anesthesia if necessary; we have tools. Radiation oncology, so it’s multidisciplinary. But we’re much more cognizant of the effects that the cancer can have on the patient as well as the side effects of the treatments that we administer at this point. We have to always be knowledgeable about that.