Addressing the future challenge of prostate cancer

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As the global population grows and ages, the world is facing a significant increase in prostate cancer cases and deaths, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

A report published in The Lancet, authored by a group of international experts, including Dr. Brandon Mahal from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, outlines the looming challenge and proposes strategies to manage the expected surge in prostate cancer diagnoses over the next two decades.

Prostate cancer, a disease that predominantly affects men, is projected to see its cases double by 2040, reaching almost 2.9 million worldwide. De

ths from the disease are expected to rise by 85% to nearly 700,000 annually.

The increase is particularly concerning in countries with fewer resources, where access to early diagnosis and effective treatment is limited.

The report emphasizes the disparities in prostate cancer incidence and outcomes, noting that men of West African descent are at a significantly higher risk of death from the disease.

Research indicates that these disparities are not solely due to genetic factors but also to differences in access to care, including early genetic profiling of tumors which can lead to more personalized and effective treatments.

To improve outcomes, the report highlights the importance of expanding screening efforts, particularly in high-risk communities. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Dr. Mahal is based, has been at the forefront of such initiatives, using mobile vans to bring screenings directly to people in high-risk areas.

These vans, staffed by multilingual professionals, offer an accessible and community-centered approach to early detection.

Key recommendations from the report include leveraging technology, such as artificial intelligence, to improve diagnostic accuracy and utilizing smartphones and media to educate and engage the public.

It also calls for the development of affordable treatments for advanced cases and addressing the global shortage of specialist care and equipment.

Interestingly, the report suggests that the current approach to screening in high-income countries, which often relies on PSA testing, may not be suitable for everyone.

It may lead to over-testing in older men and under-testing in younger men at higher risk. Instead, the experts advocate for targeted early-detection programs for those most at risk.

The report also calls for more research into prostate cancer among men of different ethnic backgrounds, especially those of West African descent, to better understand the biology of the disease across diverse populations.

Despite the daunting projections, the collaborative effort behind The Lancet report offers hope. By providing a unified strategy and clear recommendations, it aims to guide global efforts in managing the anticipated increase in prostate cancer cases.

Dr. Mahal expresses optimism about the impact of their work, emphasizing the importance of a coordinated approach to tackling this challenge.

The report serves as a call to action for the global health community to prepare for and mitigate the impact of prostate cancer, particularly among those who will be most affected.

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The research findings can be found in The Lancet.

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