A newly developed blood test could help target treatment for men in the advanced stages of prostate cancer. In recent years, genetic testing has become more common in cancer treatment as it can be used to tailor treatment to individual patients. This new test will help by identifying men who do not respond well to hormone-based treatments for prostate cancer and will be more likely to benefit from the more modern prostate cancer drugs. This means that men will not have to go through unsuccessful treatments, instead, doctors will be able to direct prostate cancer patients to suitable methods of medication. It is believed that this blood test will make treatment easier for those living with prostate cancer and save the NHS a great deal of money.


The Test

The study behind this new blood test was published in the Annals of Oncology journal. Researchers took samples from 265 men with prostate cancer taking part in three separate clinical trials. The study was conducted by scientists based in 24 hospitals throughout Spain, the UK, Italy and America.

They found that patients that had multiple copies of a particular gene were unable to respond to the medications, abiraterone and enzalutamide- both of which are commonly used to treat advance-stage prostate cancer. More trials are expected to be held soon, but the team behind this discovery are hopeful that the blood test will stop thousands of men from being put through unnecessary prostate cancer treatment and will allow doctors to provide patients with personalised care.


Who is effected?

Prostate cancer affects more men in the UK than any other form of cancer, with more than 40,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed each year. This cancer develops when cells in the prostate begin growing in an uncontrollable way. Unfortunately, prostate cancer often goes unnoticed in its early stages as cancer grows slowly to start with and may not display any symptoms for many years. Early detection is important as some men may have a form of prostate cancer which is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Although prostate cancer develops slowly, there are still signs and symptoms that all men should look out for.


Services in Richmond

If you are concerned that you may be displaying symptoms or if you are in the at-risk age range for prostate cancer- 60% of all prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65 – you should speak to your GP who will arrange for you to have screening. There are a number of different ways to test for prostate cancer. Your doctor is likely to ask for a urine sample, take a blood sample or examine your prostate for abnormalities.

If you have already received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, you may benefit from the support and advice offered by one of the many men’s support groups, such as The West London Prostate Cancer Group. You can use this filter on the Prostate Cancer UK website to find more groups and services in and around Richmond.