Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung cancer.

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of semen. 

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have a weaker flow of urine, but these symptoms can also be caused by benign prostate conditions.

Because of effective screening options for prostate cancer, the disease is often caught before it spreads, and as a whole, survival rates are good for this type of cancer.

The NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates that more than 248,530 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 34,130 men will die of the disease in 2021. 

Prostate cancer is more common in older men. It is more likely to occur in men with a family history of prostate cancer and in men of African-American descent. Other risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. In the United States, about 11 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetimes.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

What Is the AACR Doing in This Area?

The AACR has recently awarded research grants to investigators pursuing promising research related to prostate cancer.

Tyler A. Allen, PhD, a postdoctoral associate at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina received a 2020 AACR-Genentech Cancer Disparities Research Fellowship. His research project involved interrogating ancestry-related alternative splicing variation in metastatic prostate cancer. 

“This fellowship supports a study with significant impact on not only health disparities but also the molecular understanding of the metastasis process.”

Neel Shah, PhD, a research fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts received a 2019 AACR-AstraZeneca Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grant. His research project is to examine the role of DNA damage response in EZH2 inhibitor sensitivity and response in prostate cancer. 

“This fellowship will give me the opportunity to carry out my proposed research and will ultimately allow for the development of improved treatment strategies for prostate cancer patients.”

Mark P. Labrecque, PhD, a senior fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, received a 2018 AACR-Bayer Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grant. His grant project will examine the efficacy of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and androgen receptor (AR) pathway inhibitors alone or in combination in treating castration-resistant prostate cancer.

“This generous support and the opportunity to train with an industry leader like Bayer will be instrumental for my career development and will hopefully lead to better therapies for men with advanced prostate cancer.”