There are times when being number one is not a good thing. In fact, it’s downright tragic.
Prostate cancer has been number one for too long. It remains the most diagnosed cancer among men worldwide.
During a routine health check in late 2015, Mike’s doctor detected elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in his blood – a potential indicator of prostate problems.
Concerned, the doctor promptly referred Mike to a urologist, who performed a biopsy. Unfortunately, the results were unequivocal – Mike had high-grade prostate cancer.
“I was in shock. In that moment, my greatest fear was that this diagnosis signalled an early and agonising end to my life.”
Within weeks, Mike found himself preparing for a radical prostatectomy.
Following the procedure, a period of diligent PSA monitoring commenced, as there was a high risk of the cancer spreading and metastasizing. Three years later Mike’s PSA levels rose once more, and devastatingly, a scan unveiled bone metastases in his pelvic and spinal regions.
Over the following three years, Mike underwent targeted radiotherapy, battling the advancing metastases until their sheer number made radiological treatment impractical. His treatment path then shifted to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a form of chemical castration that suppresses testosterone production – a hormone crucial to prostate cancer’s growth.
In search of support and a deeper understanding of the uncertain journey that prostate cancer patients and their families face, Mike and his wife Sue joined – and later ran – a support group where they gained insights into those challenges.
“It became abundantly clear to us that identifying more effective diagnostic methods and treatments for prostate cancer patients is imperative.”
Mike joined the WEHI Consumer Advocates program to help researchers ﬁnd better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat cancers. His purpose is clear: to shine a light on this insidious disease that has touched his life so profoundly.
Fortunately, Mike’s ADT treatment has kept his PSA levels undetectable for the past 18 months.
At WEHI, we are working hard every day to bring these prostate cancer numbers down and, one day, eradicate all forms of cancer for good.
We are currently collaborating with the global Pan-Prostate Cancer Group to analyse the largest prostate cancer data project ever undertaken.
Our goal is to understand what causes prostate cancer, how it changes as it progresses, and exactly what determines outcomes.
Our aim is to discover better methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment for men everywhere.
WEHI researchers, Professor Tony Papenfuss and PhD student, Jennifer Ureta are focusing their efforts on a prevailing anomaly within the realm of cancer: oncogene amplification. This is the process where certain genes, known as oncogenes, abnormally increase the number of copies of the gene within a cell’s DNA.
Our researchers are interested in understanding the mechanisms behind oncogene amplification in prostate cancer because it can provide valuable insights into the drivers of this disease, with the ultimate goal of improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
At WEHI, we believe that together we can find better ways to prevent, diagnose and cure the most devastating diseases, including prostate cancer. By collaborating on a national and global scale, we can solve these health challenges faster than ever before.
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