Did you know that prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, and is the third most common cause of cancer death?
Men often present with multiple symptoms such as pain, depression, and fatigue—either as a result of their disease, or the treatment of their disease—which can have a huge impact on their quality of life and day-to-day activities.
Professor Janet Hardy and her team are leading a project at Mater looking at the genetic basis of a patient’s symptoms; to see if their symptom clusters are genetically determined, and if so, how they can be diagnosed earlier.
Now in its early stages, this promising project is focusing on 24 men living with ‘castrate resistant prostate cancer’. These men will be followed over time, giving blood samples regularly which will be stored for genetic analysis.
The development of a diagnostic tool would allow for patients who present with cancer to have a genetic analysis run, potentially enabling a personalised symptom management regimen to be created as early as possible.
This important research could make a difference to lives of people like Trevor (pictured left), who was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer in 2002—and given up to five years to live.
Despite later being diagnosed with secondary bone cancer in his skull, back, ribs and hips, as well as lymph nodes in his chest, Trevor remains mostly well, thanks to the care he received at Mater’s Cancer Care Centre. You can read his story here.
Personalised symptom control could help hundreds of patients just like Trevor—by reducing their hospital admissions and the burden their cancer symptoms have on their life, by being able to proactively manage their symptoms.
Eventually, this symptom diagnosis could be expanded to other cancers; providing all cancer patients with the tools they need to alleviate symptoms that can be extremely difficult for them to cope with.
And your amazing efforts are helping to fund research like this at Mater, which could have a lasting impact on people diagnosed with cancer.
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