The PCNO BOD approved a total of $30,000 during the July 8, 2021 Board of Directors Meeting to support two Prostate Cancer related research projects being run by the Ottawa Hospital.
A brief description of the two projects has been provided by DR Luke T. Lavallée MDCM FRCSC, from the Ottawa Hospital.
1) Using PSMA PET scan technology to personalize care for men with prostate cancer:
In 2020, we launched a provincial research program in Ottawa using PSMA PET scans to improve our ability to characterize patterns of cancer recurrence. This allows us to personalize therapies in men with recurrent prostate cancer after surgery or radiotherapy. While radiotherapy or prostatectomy are curative treatment for many men with prostate cancer, cancer recurrence ranges from 20-40% depending on pre-treatment characteristics (PSA) and post-treatment stage. Men with suspected persistent or recurrent disease. PET scans are specialized CTs that have the ability to detect cancer that is not identified by conventional imaging (bone scan or CT). For example a PET may find a cancer site that can be removed with surgery that otherwise would not be visible. In previous studies, PET changed treatment plans for 63% of patients.
To date, we have provided access to PET to over 150 patients in Eastern Ontario. To manage and run this PET scan program, we require a full-time research assistant to coordinate scans, collect and review documentation, and communicate with the central coordinating center in London Ontario. Because access to PET imaging is permitted through a research infrastructure only, our ability to maintain access is dependent on our ability to support our staff. Support from PCNO to help support our research assistant salary will help ensure continuity of the PET program.
2) Examining and optimizing bone health in men with prostate cancer receiving hormone therapy:
In 2020, the Canadian Urological Association invited our team in Ottawa to lead a national initiative and develop a Best Practice Statement for Bone Health Care in men with prostate cancer. Men receiving androgen deprivation therapy (hormone therapy or ADT) are at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. These changes in bone density can lead to fractures, hospitalizations, and a need for invasive surgeries. The side effects can significantly impair our patients’ quality and duration of life. Over the last 12 months, I led a team that created an Evidence-Based Guideline outlining medical advice, testing, treatment, and follow up required for men with prostate cancer receiving ADT. This guideline was supported by national thought-leaders in prostate cancer care and bone health. The guideline will be published in the Canadian Urological Association Journal for national dissemination to help men across Canada. Through this process we identified several important elements physicians should perform when treating men with ADT, these include a baseline assessment of risk factors for osteoporosis, calculation of a FRAX score to estimate fracture risk, and performance of a bone mineral density scan (DEXA scan).
The recent completion of this bone health guideline by our team in Ottawa provides an ideal opportunity to review the quality of care received by patients in Ottawa as it relates to bone health in prostate cancer. Specifically, we would like to perform a quality assurance study of patients managed in our prostate cancer clinics receiving ADT to determine if they are receiving appropriate counselling, testing, and management for bone health. The results of this study will permit us to develop a continuing medical education program for physicians and nurses in Ottawa, aimed at educating health care professionals about bone health so they can better counsel their patients. After delivering this CME to our members, we will continue to monitor quality of care related to ADT and bone health to identify improvements in practice.
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