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Prostate Cancer Early Detection: Canary PASS Trial Hits Important Milestone

November 14, 2013

About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will not die from it. With screening, we’re doing better at identifying prostate cancer early. But now, the clinical question is: with a prostate cancer diagnosis, do we treat, or is treatment not necessary?

ProstateTreating prostate cancer when it’s not necessary exposes men to potential side effects—including incontinence and impotence– of aggressive treatment like surgery. This is known as overtreatment. We need better tools to differentiate aggressive prostate cancer from non-aggressive prostate cancer to guide these decisions.

In 2007, the Canary prostate team decided to focus on this important clinical question. How will we distinguish lethal from non-lethal prostate cancer? Identifying the difference early on will save lives. New tools will also help end unnecessary biopsies and overtreatment.

By 2008, the team launched a clinical trial called PASS, the Prostate Active Surveillance Study. Men with early stage, localized, low-risk prostate cancer can enroll and have their cancer closely monitored for signs of progression. This process is called active surveillance. The trial’s goal is to manage low-risk prostate cancer through active surveillance while identifying markers to distinguish non-aggressive prostate cancer from potentially lethal disease.

The PASS trial has been running smoothly, and in October 2013, the PASS Trial reached another major milestone when the 1,000th man was enrolled in the trial.

We are so grateful for Canary Foundation supporters, who provided funding early on for this work. They recognized that the project was underfunded and important. We’re also extremely thankful to the men who participated in the trial for contributing tens of thousands of samples to prostate cancer early detection research. Thank you!

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