Prostate Cancer in Seniors: Early Signs and New Breakthrough Treatments

4 minute read

By Editorial Staff

Prostate cancer symptoms are often subtle and misdiagnosed, and men’s risk increases with age. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about prostate cancer with a search online right now, which could help you spot early symptoms.

Due to the increased risk, it’s crucial seniors stay well-informed about this condition. That’s why we’re diving into the early signs to watch for and the most recent advancements in treatment, providing hope and options for a healthier life.

Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer in Seniors

One of the more challenging aspects of prostate cancer is that symptoms often do not manifest until later stages of development, since it tends to grow slowly. Common symptoms of prostate cancer include frequent urination, especially urges at night, difficulty urinating, bladder control difficulty, and the presence of blood in the urine and/or semen. Seniors should also be alert to swelling in the legs or pelvis, chronic bone pain, and erectile dysfunction.

As some men may have an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude toward medical issues, it is vital that they discuss testing with a physician as close to the age of 50 as possible, especially if they’ve experienced any of the symptoms listed above.

How to Treat Prostate Cancer in Seniors

In seniors, physicians take a more individualized approach, considering the patient’s overall well-being, life expectancy, and potential treatment side effects. Some seniors may choose active surveillance, a strategy that involves closely monitoring the cancer’s progression without immediate treatment unless necessary. This approach is especially relevant for older patients with low-risk prostate cancer.

For those who require treatment, there are several cutting-edge options available, including radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, and more. The choice of treatment is typically a collaborative decision between the patient and their healthcare team, taking into account the specific circumstances of the individual.

Latest Advancements in Prostate Cancer Treatment

Conventional treatments for localized prostate cancer typically include surgical procedures or radiation therapy, sometimes complemented with hormone therapy. An alternative approach known as active surveillance has become increasingly popular among men with low-risk prostate cancer. This method entails regular monitoring through biopsies, with treatment initiated only if the cancer shows signs of progression.

1. Hormone Therapy

In the past decade, exciting advancements in hormone therapy for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer have emerged. Some prostate cancers initially responsive to standard hormone therapy eventually develop resistance, leading to castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Several new drugs have shown promise in extending survival for certain groups of men with CRPC.

These medications, such as enzalutamide (Xtandi), abiraterone (Zytiga), darolutamide (Nubeqa), and apalutamide (Erleada), work by inhibiting the hormones that drive CRPC. They are also being used in cases where prostate cancer still responds to standard hormone treatments but has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).

2. PARP Inhibitors for Prostate Cancer

These inhibitors act by blocking an enzyme called PARP, which plays a critical role in DNA repair within our cells. What makes these drugs particularly promising is their effectiveness against prostate tumors that bear certain genetic defects, limiting their ability to repair DNA.

Among the approved PARP inhibitors, olaparib (Lynparza) and rucaparib (Rubraca) stand out. They’ve been greenlit for use in select men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer carrying these specific genetic flaws, particularly when conventional hormone treatments have proven ineffective.

3. Vaccines for Prostate Cancer

Immunotherapies tap into the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer effectively. They do this by empowering the immune system to either directly target cancer cells or bolster its overall response. In the realm of prostate cancer, two promising immunotherapeutic approaches are vaccines and checkpoint inhibitors.

Treatment vaccines serve as a pivotal component of this innovation. These injections are designed to activate the immune system, helping it recognize and attack cancerous tumors. One such vaccine, Sipuleucel-T (Provenge), has been granted approval for men who are experiencing few or no symptoms from metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).

4. Checkpoint Inhibitors for Prostate Cancer

Checkpoint inhibitors work by blocking specific proteins on immune cells, empowering the immune system to more effectively target and eliminate cancer cells. Among them, Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and dostarlimab (Jemperli) have gained approval for the treatment of various tumors, including specific genetic subtypes of prostate cancer.

Pembrolizumab has also been granted approval for the treatment of metastatic tumors with a high number of genetic mutations. While such mutations are relatively rare in prostate cancer, the overall success of checkpoint inhibitors in prostate cancer treatment has been somewhat limited.

5. Targeted Radiation Therapy and PSMA

In these therapies, a compound designed to target PSMA is combined with a radioactive substance. This unique combination enables the treatment to specifically locate, attach to, and eliminate prostate cancer cells throughout the body.

Recent clinical trials have shown that men with advanced prostate cancer who received PSMA-targeting medications had improved survival rates compared to those who underwent standard therapies. These promising results have led to the FDA’s approval of Lu177-PSMA-617 (Pluvicto) for the treatment of certain individuals with metastatic prostate cancer.

Learn More About Prostate Cancer Today!

Prostate cancer is a significant health concern among seniors. However, there is hope through early detection and the latest advancements in treatment. Recognizing the initial signs of prostate cancer is crucial, and staying informed about the evolving treatment options is essential.

For further information about prostate cancer, including its early warning signs and the latest breakthrough treatments, we recommend continuing your research online.

Editorial Staff