On the Horizon

For the past several years, I've had the privilege of being part of an amazing program that funds research into new ways to treat advanced metastatic prostate cancer. In February of 2021, I had the opportunity to review almost a dozen new proposals, many of which I feel may offer hope and promise for treating advanced prostate cancer.

While I'm not permitted to discuss the details of the proposals that were presented and reviewed, it was extremely rewarding to gain a brief insight into the innovative work being done by promising young scientific investigators across the nation.

Assessing risk and finding treatments

As a consumer reviewer and two-time member of the “aggressive prostate cancer club,” my role is to inquire about what possible impacts future treatment might have on a patient. Occasionally quality of life issues for both the patient and his family can easily be overlooked in the rush to find treatments to conquer castrate resistant prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer can be a family disease that's not confined to the individual patient. While the shock of a metastatic prostate diagnosis can be immediate, the impacts can linger for many years. If genetic links are identified in the diagnosis, it is possible that other family members may also face some form of cancer in the future.

Being a consumer reviewer

Few people are aware that the United States government spends over $100 million a year for prostate cancer research. It is an amazing undertaking and benefits veterans and the general public alike.

A consumer reviewer is a voting member and, along with scientists, can help determine how $110,000,000 appropriated by Congress is spent on prostate cancer research.

Consumer reviewers put together comments on how research may impact quality of life, among other areas. I found it to be a privilege to serve in this role and help men fighting prostate cancer, which is not the so-called "good cancer" that some who don't have the disease believe it to be.

An important partnership

Consumer advocates and scientists have teamed up like this to review research applications since 1997. I've written previously about my role in reviewing the research findings and how others can try to get involved.

The message I take away from this project is  … the hope for better treatments may indeed be a reality someday in the future.

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