Men who have undergone prostate cancer treatments may find the disease makes a return. While this is a very rare occurrence courtesy of highly effective treatment protocols, it does happen in some cases. For men who have undergone invasive procedures in the past, the suspicion of recurrence can open the door on the potential for more invasive actions to detect and stop the recurrence in its tracks. The U.S. FDA, however, recently approved a new agent that may take the invasiveness out of the diagnosis process at least.
Axumin is a tracer agent used in PET scans. This medication has been proven to help doctors determine the location of recurrent prostate cancer. It can also help determine if suspected prostate cancer is really present as a recurrence. In the past, imaging tests were not highly effective at detecting recurrence in men who presented with low prostate-specific antigen levels. That opened the door for the need to biopsy to make a definitive determination. While biopsies are extremely beneficial, they are quite invasive and do come with their own share of risks.
Axumin’s approval came after two separate studies showed the tracer drug’s effectiveness and safety. While the use of Axumin in PET scans may not completely remove the need for biopsies in diagnosing and treating recurrent prostate cancers, the drug may help men avoid unnecessary additional testing.
It is estimated that 180,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. While many men will find they have low-risk forms of the disease that are very straightforward to treat, that is not always the case. Recurrence of aggressive prostate cancers is a real concern for men and their doctors. Being able to more readily detect recurrence may open the door sooner on potentially lifesaving treatments.
Men who are concerned about prostate cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers. Early detection of this disease can lead to a host of treatment options.