Your Prostate is a Ticking Bomb - Don't Wait ......

September 8, 2004

Your Prostate is a Ticking Bomb - Don't Wait .....

The Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital is urging men over the age of 45 to get their prostate checked. This year, it is estimated 3,100 British Columbian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Almost 550 of them will die from it.

"Prostate Awareness Week is September 19 - 25, 2004 and we are advising men to have their annual prostate exam," says Dr. Larry Goldenberg, director of the Prostate Centre at VGH, investigator with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and head of the Division of Urology at UBC. "This is something the majority of men are still squeamish about, but the standard prostate exam, by a family physician, together with a blood test to detect prostate specific antigen (PSA) - high levels of which indicate prostate enlargement, inflammation or cancer - is still the first line of detection for prostate cancer."

Early detection is critical for optimal treatment, especially in men 50-70 years of age. "Screening really is essential," says Goldenberg. "A 60 year old man dying of prostate cancer used to be a 50 year old man who had curable prostate cancer. We urge you not to wait."

British Columbia has the lowest mortality rate from prostate cancer, primarily due to the leading edge treatment and care offered in this province. The Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital is the largest comprehensive research and treatment clinic of its kind in Canada. Its focus is on education, treatment, and prevention. The Centre has developed leading-edge work in drug development, which is helping to prevent and treat this form of cancer, and bring mortality rates down even further.

Prostate Centre Director Dr. Larry Goldenberg, Dr. Martin Gleave, Surgeon & Director of Clinical Research, and Dr. Paul Rennie, Director of Laboratory Research, are available to discuss the basics of prostate cancer, risk factors and ways to lessen them, as well as the latest in treatment for prostate cancer.

For more information contact: Lisa Carver
Communications Specialist,
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
Tel: 604-875-4111 x 61777
or 604-319-7533 Backgrounder
Quick Facts

Quick facts about Prostate Cancer and the Prostate Centre at VGH: The prostate is a gland that surrounds part of the urethra, which empties urine from the bladder. The prostate is essential for reproduction, facilitating ejaculation and providing nutrients to support the sperm on their journey. One of the two tests that can detect prostate cancer in the absence of any symptoms is the digital rectal exam, where a physician feels the prostate through the rectum to find hard or lumpy areas. The other is a blood test to detect prostate specific antigen (PSA), high levels of which indicate prostate enlargement, inflammation or cancer. Approximately 1500 new prostate cancer patients are referred to the Prostate Centre every year. They come from all over the Lower Mainland, BC and Canada. Staff and research investigators include two urologists, two medical oncologists, one clinical fellow and the nine principal investigators who oversee the largest concentration of prostate-specific research and treatment programs in the province. The Prostate Research Laboratory currently occupies over 30,000 square feet of space in the Jack Bell Research Centre at VGH. It boasts the latest in technologies and is home to BC's only fully operational Gene Array Facility for functional genomics and bioinformatics. Developing a new drug treatment can cost $200 million or more. It may be possible to lower the risk of developing prostate cancer cases through healthy lifestyle choices, including regular exercise and maintenance of optimal body weight; eating a diet low in red meat fat and high in fruit, vegetables, and soy products; dietary supplements of selenium, and Vitamin E; and red wine in moderation.

Biographies

S. Larry Goldenberg, M.D., FRCSC, FACS Director, The Prostate Centre at VGH
Professor, Department of Surgery, UBC
Head, Division of Urology, UBC and VCHRI
Active Staff, Division of Urology, Vancouver General Hospital
Research Consultant, Department of Cancer Endocrinology, BCCA
Consultant Urologist, Department of Urology, University of Washington

Research Interest
Dr. Larry Goldenberg's research involves the study of diagnostics, education, and novel treatment approaches of prostate cancer. In patients with early, localized tumours he has co-developed and tested clinical protocols in which hormone therapy is administered prior to surgical removal of the prostate and did the original research behind the concept of intermittent hormone therapy. He is currently researching the use of alternative treatments for prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement. His book "Prostate Cancer: All you need to know to take an active part in your treatment" is now in 3rd edition printing.

Martin Gleave Director, Clinical and Translational Research, The Prostate Centre at VGH
Professor, Department of Surgery, UBC;
Director of Basic Science Research, Division of Urology
Chairman, Canadian Uro-Oncology Group
Research Scientist, Department of Cancer Endocrinology, B.C. Cancer Agency
Consultant Urologist, Department of Urology, University of Washington

Research Interests
Dr. Gleave is a clinician-scientist and Director of Clinical and Translational Research at the Prostate Centre. His major research focus involves the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms affecting progression of prostate cancer to its lethal stage of androgen independence, and use of this information to develop innovative therapies that specifically target these mechanisms. Some of his discoveries have been licensed biotechnology companies and have already progressed to clinical trial, the first phase in developing a new therapy for general use in the clinic. The most promising of these is a compound that appears to improve the efficacy of hormone withdrawal therapy and chemotherapy.

Dr. Gleave is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the NCIC's prestigious William Rawls Award for contributions to cancer control in Canada and the Society of Urologic Oncology's Young Investigator Award.

Paul S. Rennie, PhD Director, Laboratory Research, The Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital
Professor, Department of Surgery and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia
Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, University of Victoria

Research Interests
Dr. Paul Rennie's current research is aimed at determining how androgens regulate gene transcription and how to use this knowledge to prevent progression to androgen independence in prostate cancers. A considerable amount of research in his lab is directed towards identifying the molecular elements that define steroid-receptor and tissue specificity. In addition, he is studying prostate-specific elements of gene promoters and working to develop a herpes virus-based vector as a targeting vehicle for in vivo delivery and prostate-specific expression of genes that can control or kill prostate tumour cells. Dr. Rennie is the Coordinator/PI of an NCIC/Terry Fox Program grant on Prostate Cancer Progression, PI of CIHR and Health Canada grants.

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