New Research Boost Prostate Cancer Care

Men’s Health Foundation Ghana, a prostate health organization based in Accra, has received a new life-saving boost as one of its leading researchers has discovered a protein that can help distinguish between prostate cancers that are life-threatening and those which are much less aggressive. Dr Hayley Whitaker, based at Cambridge Research Institute, who carried out a study, part-funded by Prostate Cancer UK, found out that, there were much higher levels of the protein, NAALADL2 in prostate cancer tissue compared with healthy tissue – and that the protein was also associated with the aggressiveness of the disease. “It is really a good news,” says Raphael Obu, the director of Men’s Health Foundation Ghana who was himself trained in prostate cancer care at Sheffield Hallam University UK. According to Raphael Obu, “Diagnostic tests for prostate cancer can’t reliably tell us if cancer is aggressive and needs treating straight away or is slow-growing and won’t need any treatment. This means that some men diagnosed with prostate cancer are faced with an almost impossible decision: to have treatment and risk long-term, potentially debilitating side effects when the tumour might be relatively benign. Or, to have their cancer monitored and run the risk that the tumour might spread.” Dr Whitaker’s research is at an early stage and there is still a long way to go before we know whether it would translate into a clinically useful test for aggressive prostate cancer. However, this research takes us a step closer to our goal where men with aggressive tumours can have immediate treatment, and men with low-risk tumours can have the confidence avoid or delay treatment, Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said. “The results of this study are encouraging but we still have a long way to go. The challenge is now to see if this research can be translated into real benefits for men diagnosed with the disease. We will watch with great interest for developments in this area.”