T

he prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system that aids in the creation and transportation of seminal fluid. Though during most of a man’s life the prostate is about the size of a walnut and only weighs about 11 grams, as men get older it can begin to enlarge, weighing up to 70 grams.

An enlarged prostate gland is the main complaint of men over the age of 50, and it is estimated that about 1 in every 9 men 65 years and older will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. As with any other kind of cancer, prostate cancer beings when cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably, but it rarely causes any symptoms.

In addition to usually being asymptomatic, prostate cancer tends to grow very slowly. This means that the vast majority of patients are diagnosed at a very early stage and have pretty good chances of survival.

Because prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men, doctors recommend that all males over the age of 50 (or earlier if they have a prostate cancer family history) undergo a routine prostate screening test. Typically, a routine prostate cancer checkup is performed by a urologist, which is a doctor that specializes in the male reproductive system.

These screenings it usually involves a manual examination to check the size of the prostate, and a blood test to look for elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA). If the doctor considers that any or both of these tests are altered they may recommend a biopsy to check for cancer cells in the prostate or surrounding tissues.

What Are Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials?

A clinical trial is a research study performed by doctors, scientists, or researchers to test a new drug or intervention and determine both its safety and effectiveness. All new treatments and procedures have to be thoroughly evaluated by experts before being released to the public, which is a process that can take several years.

Prostate clinical trials aim to study different aspects of the disease; from new, less invasive ways to diagnosing cancer to alternative treatments that may improve and extend the lives of patients. Clinical trials have played a crucial role in the current prognosis of prostate cancer patients, and there are new trials being conducted every year aiming to improve the quality of life and outcomes of cancer patients.

Why Should I Enroll in a Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial?

Deciding to participate in a clinical trial is a very personal decision, and there are many reasons why a person might choose to take part in one. Some of the most common reasons why people decide to enroll in a trial are:

Personalized Medical Care

Although most medications or procedures administered during a clinical trial are still experimental, some individuals opt to volunteer in a trial because it gives them access to the latest treatment options for their condition. Moreover, participants usually receive around-the-clock medical attention from experts who closely monitor their condition.

Clinical Trials Help Others

Healthy volunteers also participate in clinical trials, and many of them do so because they see it as their way of helping others. Clinical trials are extremely important for developing new and better medical techniques that may save lives in the future. However, clinical trials would not be possible without those who volunteer their time to test these new advances.

Actively Participate in Your Own Healthcare

Getting involved in your own healthcare will allow you to get a better understanding of your condition and your options. Those who are more involved and aware of their health typically have better outcomes than those who don’t. Participating in a clinical trial gives you the opportunity to learn more about your condition and become more self-aware regarding your own health.

How Can I Find a Clinical Trial?

As of this year, there are close to 300,000 active clinical trials for thousands of different conditions, and many of them are actively recruiting. If you or a loved one is a prostate cancer patient looking to enroll in a clinical trial, ask your doctor if they know of any studies that may be a good fit for you.

Sources