New therapy to alleviate prostate cancer symptoms

Singapore will be the first country in the Asia Pacific region to offer a novel treatment for advanced prostate cancer sufferers. 

The treatment, in the form of an injection, helps men whose prostate cancers have spread to the bones - a condition called bones metastases. 

The condition affects nearly 90 per cent of men with castration-resistant prostate cancer. 

Those with this condition experience pain, fragile bones and may even suffer from paralysis. 

Many of them take painkillers on a regular basis to manage the pain. 

The new therapy is suitable for patients who may be too frail or not eligible for chemotherapy due to other conditions. 

Consultant at National Cancer Centre Singapore's Division of Medical Oncology, Dr Ng Quan Sing, says this injection can help extend the survival rate and improve quality of life for patients. 

He explains that the therapy involves injecting a radioactive substance, Radium-223 dichloride, which goes directly into the bones. 

"And you know that the bone mainly comprises of calcium. It binds to the cancer cells within the bones. Because it has radioactivity, it kills off the cancer cell within the bones. There's actually no other drug like this that's used for the treatment of cancer in the bone. It's very safe because it's only acts in a very short distance - so it stays within the bone where it binds on. After they receive the treatment, they can go on the MRT and go home."

The jab is administered once-a-month over six months. 

Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer and the six leading cause of death from cancer in men. 

Dr Ng says given Singapore's ageing male population, the number of advanced prostate cancer sufferers are expected to increase.