MARK SCHOLZ, MD
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.
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
“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
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 www.PCRI.org