Cancers of the prostate, kidney, testicles and bladder are increasingly common in our country and cases are increasing, so much so that in 2019 81,500 compatriots, both men and women, were diagnosed with a neoplasm affecting the genitourinary system. And if thanks to progress in diagnosis and therapies today eight out of ten patients survive the cancer, to improve patient care it is nevertheless necessary to provide more and more “teamwork” between different specialists such as urologist, radiotherapist oncologist, medical oncologist, pathologist, radiologist, nuclear doctors and geriatricians. The SIUrO (Italian Society of Oncological Urology) has decided to dedicate its thirtieth national congress to these issues, which is currently underway in virtual mode and represents about 20% of all cancers registered in our country.
Less than 50 years old
Although widespread, these tumors are still poorly understood and, according to recent statistics, 44% of Italians do not know that there are effective treatments capable of countering them. Still too many (61 percent) are unaware that they can in many cases be prevented through healthy lifestyles: just 9 out of 100 compatriots know, in fact, that cigarette smoking causes bladder cancer, 38 out of 100 recognize a sedentary lifestyle and obesity as risk factors for prostate and kidney cancer. “In recent years we have also recorded an increase in urological neoplasms in patients under the age of 50 – says Alberto Lapini, SIUrO national president -. It is a fact that we must take into account above all in the choice of treatments to be administered, which must be increasingly agreed upon in a multidisciplinary context and where possible less invasive. In fact, we increasingly tend towards conservative surgical treatments or active surveillance protocols, the latter for patients with neoplastic pathologies with a low risk of evolution. As a scientific society we are promoting this approach to oncological diseases through a constructive comparison between the various specialists involved in patient care. “In 2019, 37 thousand new cases of prostate cancer were registered in Italy, 12,600 of the kidney, 2,200 of the testicle and 29,700 to the bladder. «They represent one fifth of all cancers registered in our country – continues Lapini -. However, they are very difficult to identify in the early stages and emblematic in this sense is the renal carcinoma where in one third of cases the finding is occasional. It usually occurs when a patient has an abdominal radiological examination for other reasons or health problems. As specialists we have a wide choice of effective treatments available and, in fact, eight out of ten patients manage to defeat urological neoplasia. In prostate and testicular cancer the survival rates are even 92% and 91% “.
Making available a new cure for metastatic kidney cancer
35% of renal neoplasms in our country are identified in an advanced or metastatic stage, when it is much more difficult to cure. But combinations of new drugs reduce the risk of death, lengthen and improve the lives of patients: «For this reason we ask that the reimbursement of the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab be recognized as soon as possible – adds Giario Conti, national secretary of SIUrO -. Since 2017, the two immunotherapy drugs have achieved important clinical results which have been confirmed by numerous studies. The advantage was more evident especially in the subgroup of patients defined as intermediate and poor prognosis who have a more aggressive disease and a shorter life expectancy. They represent about 75% of all cases registered in our country. It is certainly not a decisive treatment but it is certainly capable of increasing the quantity and quality of life as well as the chances of recovery. We therefore ask all the actors involved: the Italian Medicines Agency, the Ministry of Health and the manufacturing company to resume negotiations ».
«In kidney cancer, medical-scientific research is making great strides after years of substantial immobility – underlines Renzo Colombo, vice president of SIUrO -. It is a neoplasm that annually causes over 3,100 cases of men and women under the age of 50 to be registered. It is therefore necessary to have innovative therapies available as soon as possible, also in our country, capable of giving new chances to all patients, even the youngest ones. And, in order to be more likely to heal, it’s crucial not to neglect some “alarm bells” and report as soon as possible to your doctor some symptoms such as the presence of blood in the urine – concludes Colombo -. In fact, it can be an indicator of the presence of a bladder tumor. A frequent need to urinate is one of the main signs of prostate cancer. We have spent very troubled months because the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have made access to health facilities very difficult. Covid-19 still represents a serious threat but must not be a pretext for not having medical checks and diagnostic tests. Our hospitals and clinics are now safe and therefore we recommend to all Italians, who need them, to undergo tests. Cancer cannot be underestimated and will continue to be a health problem for millions of people even after the end of the pandemic ».
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