The co-authors of Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, blog alternate posts weekly. We invite you to post your comments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

PCRI Conference Recap


Early feedback about last week’s PCRI conference would seem to indicate that it was a resounding success. Close to 800 attended.  More importantly, the overall spirit of the conference was energized by hope as people learned about the many new treatment options. Also, we were blessed by one of the finest speaker lineups ever.  PCRI invited the world’s most eminent prostate cancer doctors to share information in their specific area of expertise.  

We also encountered real enthusiasm about the SHADES campaign.  I loved one comment from a conference sponsor, “It is truly imperative that we eliminate the shades of gray and replace it with SHADES of Blue.” It seems our message about prostate cancer not being a single disease is finally being heard.

For those of you unfamiliar with SHADES, PCRI has changed the technical names: Low-Risk, Intermediate-Risk, High-Risk, Relapsed, and Advanced disease each into a different SHADE of Blue: SKY, TEAL, AZURE, INDIGO AND ROYAL.  “Prostate cancer” is merely a broad umbrella term encompassing an immense spectrum varying from harmless to potentially life threatening. In this vast and confusing marketplace, SHADES help men distinguish between the different types of prostate cancer so they can be wise shoppers. Optimal treatment depends on correctly matching individual characteristics to appropriate therapy.

“Patient Empowerment” was the theme for the conference. The PCRI wanted to provide a place for patients to interact closely with experts and connect with other patients. Cancer care is advancing so rapidly that it takes a team effort with physicians and other patients to achieve the best care. For the average patient it’s too overwhelming to try and analyze the latest clinical studies, journal articles, and protocols.

The conference program opened with an update on active surveillance from Dr. David Krasne, a pathologist from St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. Dr. Krasne discussed how imaging may be superior to using random needle biopsies for ongoing monitoring. Dr. Anthony Zietman, Associate Director of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School presented the latest information about radiation therapy for intermediate and high-risk disease.  Dr. John Mulhall from Memorial Sloan Kettering discussed state-of-the-art science on preserving sexual function. My presentation was on relapsed prostate cancer. Dr. Mark Moyad moderated all the talks and gave a typically entertaining presentation on diet and supplements. During the Sunday breakout sessions patients and experts interacted with each other on a full spectrum of prostate cancer related topics.

No one can learn all about prostate cancer in a weekend; it’s too vast and confusing. Our job was to get patients started in the right direction.  Awareness is critical.  Now that treatments are becoming more effective, the stakes are much higher. No one wants to miss out on getting the best treatment.

PCRI strives to be an excellent resource by empowering patients, family, friends and support groups. PCRI also wants to foster a spirit of teamwork and cooperation that can make Shared Decision Making between patients and doctors a reality. We believe that the conference was able to successfully exemplify this spirit. DVD’s from the conference will be available soon and can be preordered at

1 comment:

Dick Jensen said...

Best conference yet. All the speakers were outstanding. Dr. Moyad kept the program running smoothly, and his great sense of humor provided a light touch on an otherwise serious subject.