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Doctor discusses prostate cancer

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To the Editor:

I am a medical oncologist/hematologist at Putnam County Hospital's Cancer Center, and I treat a lot of prostate cancer.

This year 4,160 Hoosier men will get prostate cancer. This is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men, excluding skin cancer. It accounts for about 1 in 4 newly diagnosed cases of male cancer -- which is about the same incidence as breast cancer in women.

While prostate cancer has lagged some 30 years behind breast cancer progress, important new breakthroughs are taking place in prostate cancer.

On April 29, 2011, a new treatment was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that I think is the most important drug advancement for any cancer this year -- or really in the past five years. Called Xytiga (abiraterone acetate), this drug has been approved for prostate cancer patients who have failed standard hormone treatment and have also received at least one course of a type of chemotherapy drug known as a "taxane."

Clinical trial results for Xytiga were just published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 26, 2011 and showed increased survival for patients receiving this new drug. The addition of Xytiga is a breakthrough and opportunity for prostate cancer patients who receive care and treatment at Putnam County Hospital's Cancer Center.

Since prostate cancer is so common among men, I wanted to make sure that residents of Putnam County had the latest information on this important advancement.

WM Dugan, Jr. M.D.

Medical Director

Putnam County Hospital Cancer Center