Europa Uomo event discusses experiences and future developments
Experts in prostate cancer active surveillance explored the success and challenges of active surveillance as a treatment strategy, at a special webinar organised by Europa Uomo last week.
Speakers Hein Van Poppel, Adjunct Secretary General of the European Association of Urology, and Monique Roobol, Professor of Decision Making in Urology at Erasmus Medical Centre, provided an update on the latest research and thoughts on the future role of active surveillance (AS). Europa Uomo Board member Cosimo Pieri told of his personal experience of AS. A video of the event is available to view.
“AS is a very safe treatment option,” said Monique Roobol. It reduces the risk of complications such as urinary incontinence and impotence. At the same time, AS – which can involve regular visits and routine PSA tests and biopsies – could itself prove “burdensome” to some. This causes some men to switch to active treatments which are not appropriate for them. “We need to work on that,” she said.
The advent of MRI scans means that there might be less need for “burdensome biopsies” she said. But there was also evidence of anxiety among some men on active surveillance, and this might affect their quality of life.
She said that research shows that the majority of men on AS do not experience anxiety that affects their quality of life. However, some do report significant levels of anxiety and this needs to be dealt with.
“It may be very strange for some to have no treatment for a cancer that has just been diagnosed.” She said that men with certain characteristics were very sensitive to experiencing anxiety during active surveillance, and they need to have support and tailored information to prevent them from switching to active treatment unnecessarily. Generally, AS programmes will increasingly become tailored to individuals, she said.
The webinar was the first in a series of three on AS to be organised by Europa Uomo. The second will be held on 20thMay, 1800-1900 CET. Speakers will include: Ioannis Vanezeos, who will speak of his personal experience of AS; Professor Riccardo Valdagni, a radiation oncologist and AS expert: and Dr Lara Bellardita, a clinical and health psychologist and psychotherapist. To register in advance go to https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIucO-hqjojHNLvhxE_WLeW7ks_UVJi2zbb After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.