Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How Veterans Affairs is helping to lead the way on prostate cancer research


Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among America’s veterans population. An estimated 500,000 veterans are living with a prostate cancer diagnosis today. So it makes sense that the Veterans Health Administration would make prostate cancer research a priority. One of the latest developments is a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Among other things, it’s helped to fund research into precision oncology – treatments that are tailored to each patient’s specific physiology. Dr. Matt Rettig is the chief oncologist at the VA of Greater Los Angeles. He joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk about some of the research questions VA’s trying to answer.

Interview transcript:

Dr. Matt Rettig: Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed major malignancy amongst veterans. In fact, it’s the most common major malignancy amongst males in the general US population, with somewhere around 200,000-250,000 new cases per year. Currently, there are approximately 500,000 veterans who are alive with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and about 16,000 to 17,000 of them who have the most advanced stage of the disease, that is called metastatic prostate cancer, meaning it’s spread beyond the prostate to another organ. So it’s a big problem. It’s associated with a lot of complications, what we call morbidity, as well as unfortunately, mortality. And so it’s a high priority malignancy for the VA so that we can better understand it and better treat it for our veterans.


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