A new disruptive health start up called ALIVIA are on a mission to revolutionise people’s approach to health and to encourage people to seek second opinions post diagnosis if they feel they need to. And this month they are particularly focusing on the hot topic of prostate and testicular cancer to coincide with Movember.
With a survey revealing people are more likely to seek a second opinion on financial advice (36%) rather than on their own health (30%), health management service ALIVIA – who launched this year, are determined to revolutionise people’s approach when it comes to getting a second opinion on health.
ALIVIA services patients worldwide with many different types of illnesses or diseases, although 70% of cases are cancer related. With this in mind ALIVIA has put together its ‘Essential Movember Guide to Prostate Cancer Beating Treatments’.
In the UK, over 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, with 10,800 men dying from the illness- that’s one every hour. 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, with stats increasing to 1 in 4 for black or mixed race men. ALIVIA’s Medical Intelligence Unit have compiled a report summarising the spectrum of options, from the traditional to innovative, emerging in prostate cancer treatment.
TREATMENTS FOR LOCAL PROSTATE CANCER INCLUDE:
If your cancer has remained solely within the prostate, or sometimes if it has only spread to areas outside of the prostate, a surgical procedure called a radical prostatectomy may be recommended. This option involves the complete removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles in an attempt to remove the cancer from the body and stop it spreading any further. More likely recommended for younger patients, the surgery can also produce side effects including impotence in around 70% of men who undergo the procedure.
The two most common treatments involving radiation include external radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Radiotherapy, involves X-ray beams being directed towards the prostate from outside of the body that damages the cancer cells and stops them from growing and spreading Depending on the extent of your cancer, permanent seed brachytherapy is another option. This involves tiny radioactive seeds being implanted into your prostate, mediating low-dose permanent irradiation, and similarly to the radiotherapy, destroying the cancer cells.
THERAPY OF LOCALLY ADVANCED CANCER INCLUDES:
Whilst it won’t cure prostate cancer on its own, hormone therapy can reduce the size and growth of the cancer by removing testosterone as a ‘food source’. In cases of cancer, testosterone can lead to tumour growth and so by removing testosterone from the blood it reduces its effects anywhere the cancer is in the body.
Hormonal Treatment Combined with Chemotherapy
This strategy is usually considered as second line therapy being more effective, however more aggressive. Treatment includes both androgen deprivation and cytostatic influence that reduces cell proliferation. As chemotherapy of any cancer type, this treatment is frequently associated with side-effects.
NEW SCIENTIFIC TREATMENTS
The future of prostate cancer treatment is aiming far beyond the current standard of care. New drug combinations and experimental procedures are often regarded as an uncertain choice but it is hard to deny the effects that they can have on patient care.
Therapy of CRPC (Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer)
This situation requires special consideration. Sometimes the prostate cancer cells become independent to hormonal (androgen) stimulation and tumour growths progressively during therapy due to, for example, specific single or combined genetic alterations.
Recently several new drugs have been developed and are being introduced in clinical practice:
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) invited Janssen, the company manufacturing Zytiga, to submit evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of the drug in combination with another drug- prednisone/prednisolone (AAP)- compared with the watchful waiting for patients who haven’t undergone chemotherapy with aggressive prostate cancer. This approach has been successfully evaluated in a set of clinical trials.
NICE has recently confirmed that Radium-223 dichloride, which is also known as Xofigo, is cost effective for use on the NHS. The drug is able to target prostate cancer which has spread to the bones and uses alpha particles to destroy the cancerous cells.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow have found that by sensitising prostate cancer cells to radiation using chemotherapeutic treatments such as inhibitors of DNA repair and stress response proteins, radiation treatments are significantly more effective.
Proton Beam Therapy
Another important pioneering treatment comes under the name ‘Proton Beam Therapy’ (PBT). This method uses sub-atomic particles which are fired at the prostate, killing the cancer cells. However, unlike conventional methods, the protons stop once they reach the prostate meaning that the surrounding healthy areas are undamaged which is a significant benefit. Currently not available through the NHS, selected patients can access this treatment abroad. In popular destinations for PBT patients, such as the US, therapy can cost up to £100,000, whilst European countries can offer this treatment for around £20,000 with the potential to be reimbursed through European directives regarding international healthcare.
ALIVIA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Vidar Arnulf says, ‘With the speed of research growth in this area of oncology, there are new treatment options developed on a regular basis for men diagnosed with
prostate and testicular cancer. At Alivia, we are constantly monitoring world leading research and feel strongly that men are made aware of all the various treatment options to give them the best chance of recovery.’
Servicing clients as far reaching as Singapore and Venezuela, ALIVIA has global access to experts and knowledge from around the world. ALIVIA’s revolutionary approach ensures patients receive their very own dedicated team in their corner, offering the very best in medical care.
For more information about the services available through Alivia Swiss Health Management visit www.alivia.com.
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