In a recent Myriad Live webinar, our Chief Medical Officer, Thomas Slavin, hosted a lively conversation about prostate cancer with two experts from the field: urologist Angelo Baccala from Lehigh Valley Health Network and certified physician assistant Kara Cossis from Chesapeake Urology. The conversation is now freely available as a podcast.

If you don’t have time to listen to the hour-long session, we’ve summarized some key highlights here.

The ‘paradigm shift’ in prostate cancer treatment

All three healthcare professionals thought it noteworthy how much has changed in the treatment of prostate cancer. In the past, urologists were taught that every suspected case of prostate cancer had to be biopsied, and every diagnosed case had to be treated. “We definitely overbiopsied,” Cossis said. “Things have changed a lot.”

“Education has been phenomenal around this topic,” said Baccala, noting that urologists are now more comfortable with the idea that it is not necessary to treat every case. Some can safely be monitored over time to ensure they’re not getting worse. “There’s been a big paradigm shift,” he added.

Role of genetic testing

One of the reasons that the approach to prostate cancer has changed so much is the introduction of genetic testing. As Slavin pointed out, there are three broad categories of testing relevant to prostate cancer for use at different points in the patient journey:

  • Hereditary risk testing to identify those patients who have a high risk of developing prostate cancer
  • Gene expression profiling to determine whether someone with certain hallmarks of prostate cancer, such as elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), is likely to have clinically significant cancer
  • Tumor DNA testing to identify particular treatments that are most likely to work for that individual’s cancer

More and more urology practices are finding ways to deploy these tests to help patients. Cossis said that she offers hereditary risk testing to all patients diagnosed with prostate cancer; not only can it shed light on each patient’s situation, but it can also reveal whether that person’s family members might be at increased risk for prostate cancer and should consider more frequent screening.

Baccala said that he orders the Prolaris® test for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer to help guide treatment decisions. This kind of genetic test often outperforms pathology reports in helping to determine whether to pursue active surveillance or treatment, as well as which types of treatment might be best, he said.

Value of a comprehensive approach

Myriad Genetics recently launched UroSuite™, a comprehensive suite of genetic risk assessment tests that cover every stage of prostate cancer care. This new product is designed to streamline testing, allowing physicians to order all relevant tests in one step and get the results back in a single easy-to-read report.

Both Cossis and Baccala thought this was an important step for improving prostate cancer care for patients. “That’s hugely beneficial,” Baccala said. He added that having all of the information in one location makes the workflow easier for physicians.

“The more automatic you make something, the easier it is for someone to want to try to take it on,” Cossis said. She noted that the report is very easy to read, and that it’s also helpful having the ability for patients to connect with genetic counselors at Myriad Genetics if they have questions. “It’s all been very patient-friendly as well as provider-friendly,” she added.

Learn more about how Myriad Genetics tests can make a difference in prostate cancer care.

Do you have questions about Myriad Genetic Testing?

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