Towards a Prostate Cancer Cure
Getting to a prostate cancer cure is ultimately the goal our society is striving for. However, progress on this front can be viewed in a number of ways.
The general public may give more importance towards prevention, whereas a survivor may value recovery to a greater extent, a patient or clinician on remission, or the healthcare industry on response.
Each level to “cure prostate cancer” signifies a higher level of functioning and long term effect.
1. Prevention (avoiding the disease in the first place)
2. Recovery (restoration of health or functioning)
3. Remission (absence of disease during a chronic illness)
4. Response (partial reduction in symptoms after treatment)
Unfortunately, the most resources are currently directed towards the least likely areas that may lead to a permanent cure. This doesn’t bode well for a long term plan in terms of overall survival rates and general quality of life.
Some oddities on our current scientific perspective on health… We can send a person to the moon, harness the energy of the atom, and connect to a billion people over the internet but we can't agree on the basics of a healthy diet or measurably effect mental health.
We're in the dark ages for the most part when it comes to optimizing human health. The reasons for this, conspiracy theories aside - there's no money in prevention.
Looking forward, what do we currently know that may lead towards a long term solution?
Prevention of Prostate Cancer
One of the most significant factors on whether a man develops prostate cancer appears to be their country of residence. Men in the United States seem to have the highest rates of developing prostate cancer at 17%, compared to men in rural China with a 2% lifetime occurrence rate.
Unfortunately we don't know what's causing this geographical difference. Whether its diet related, lifestyle factors (smoking or alcohol), genetics or some other unknown factor remains to be seen.
Age also has a bears a strong correlation regarding contraction rates. U.S. men over the age of 75, have a 1 in 6 chance of developing prostate cancer, compared to the average 45 year old standing at 1 in 2500.
Prostate Cancer Recovery
Recovery is defined as a restoration of health or functioning. A person who has been cured of prostate cancer may not be fully recovered in terms of optimal physical function.
Additionally, a person who has recovered may not be permanently cured, as in the case of a person with prostate cancer recurrence or who may be asymptomatic during the present timeline.
Remission of Prostate Cancer
Remission is defined as the absence of disease activity in patients known to have a chronic illness that cannot be cured. An example – such and such cancer having a 50% survival rate over 5 years, however it may ultimately be the cause of death at a later date.
Response to Prostate Cancer Treatment
A response is a partial reduction in symptoms after treatment of prostate cancer.
Statistics on early detection of prostate cancer (Stages 1 and 2) has shown five year survival rates of 99% after diagnosis, compared to 70-80% at Stage 3, and 30% at stage 4.
Future of Prostate Cancer Research
Although the state of affairs towards a prostate cancer cure may not be ideal, many promising improvements and important discoveries have been made up until this point. It can help serve as a base for better future treatments and offer hope for those struggling or suffering through an illness.