|What made you take the initiative to establish a foundation for prostate cancer?
First, prostate cancer is a problem in health care policy. It is the second most common cause of death from malignant tumors among men. With the increase on the average life expectancy in the following years, the importance in this issue will probably continue to rise.
Nevertheless, prostate cancer remains a taboo subject in our society. The image of men in society typically exudes perfect health. Through the intensive care of gynecologists during birth, women already undergo regular preventive examinations at an early stage and thus see these check-ups as completely normal. Prostate cancer is in many ways similar to breast cancer, yet for many men, it simply does not exist. Our main goal is to raise awareness of prostate cancer and provide information on treatment options and the early detection of prostate cancer. There is nothing effeminate about prevention; instead, it must be the result of very careful analysis.
Second, we have to search for a new approach to diagnosis and therapy, e.g. a new tumor marker, the creation of risk profiles, etc., to make prevention more efficient, avoid unnecessary treatments, and propose the essential treatments in good time.
A foundation can achieve a great deal to promote advancement in this field.
Where do you see the biggest challenges with regard to prostate cancer?
On the one hand, the improvement in the early detection of prostate cancer is very significant. With PSA we already have the best tumor marker in medicine. Depending on the threshold, most tumors can be detected, but many unnecessary tissue samples are carried out. We have promising new developments in this department, such as Proteomics, PCA3, etc. Moreover, strategies relating to the treatment at the time of detection and its further development are being discussed.
||In therapy limited to prostate cancer, the development of operative techniques that are gentle on the nerves and minimally invasive, such as telesurgery, are of utmost importance. Further development of 3D-radiotherapy and proton radiation is also required, as is improving the prognosis of tumor aggressiveness. The following is imperative: "Not every case of early detected prostate cancer has to be treated, but every tumor worth treating should be detected early on!"
We need precise prognostic models (as with other tumors, chest/ uterus, etc.) to avoid unnecessary treatments. When it comes to advanced tumors, the development of new chemo- /immune- /anti vascular formation therapies is promising.
While prostate cancer is a cancer that afflicts older men, is it true that it is not their cause of death?
Nearly half the men who have tumors die at the age of 65-70, and they die a very agonizing death. However, men who die from another cause, although they also have prostate cancer, most probably have a long ordeal of hormone withdrawal and "menopausal" disorders as well as several endoscopic prostate surgeries behind them. It is a fairy tale that death is symptom-free when a tumor is involved..
When as a doctor you experience how long and weary the suffering of patients with prostate cancer can be (e.g. Frank Zappa, Telly Savalas, to name just a few celebrities) and you know that such a development could have been avoided or at least delayed, it is only logical that you commit to raising awareness of this issue.