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Prostate Cancer Trial Appeals, Cancer Screenings Drop


Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s  Coronavirus Resource Center.

Here are the most important stories that Medscape Oncology’s editors picked for you to read today:

Controversial Prostate Cancer Trial Fully Enrolled

Many men with early-stage prostate cancer are currently followed with active surveillance, where they are monitored but not treated.  

A new clinical trial, which is controversial because it may represent overtreatment, will examine the immunotherapeutic sipuleucel-T (Provenge, Dendreon) in men with early-stage prostate cancer. The product is currently approved only for use in metastatic prostate cancer.

The trial has fully enrolled about 6 months ahead of schedule, and the principal investigator says it appeals to men who want to do “something” while they are being monitored.  

Cancer Screenings Plummet in the Time of COVID-19

Screening tests for cancer and other conditions in the United States have declined sharply since mid-March, as COVID-19 has spread and the public has stayed home, according to an analysis by a US data firm. Cervical cancer screenings and cholesterol panels, for example, are each down by more than 60% nationally.

The machinery of cancer screening has ground to a halt, says Yale pathologist Benjamin Mazer, MD. The previous daily flood of colon polyp screenings, Pap tests, and prostate biopsies at his lab has now dried up. 

The coronavirus outbreak will be a natural experiment like no other for cancer screening and the debate on overdiagnosis, he writes in a Medscape commentary. Will the break in screening result in more advanced cancer being diagnosed? And will that affect outcomes?

COVID-19 Crisis Exposes Resident Abuse

Residents are being lauded as heroes for their frontline work fighting COVID-19, but trainees also say they are being taken advantage of by hospitals in crisis mode.

Medscape interviewed nearly 20 residents working on the frontlines of COVID-19 and heard differing accounts: Some academic hospitals are going above and beyond to protect their trainees, whereas others have fallen short.

It’s indisputable that many clinicians feel overworked and burned out. Some say that a key to change is to stop fighting the healthcare system as individuals — and start organizing. One proposed approach is to unionize. Medscape ethics expert Arthur Caplan, PhD, discusses this strategy at length with two experts in the field.

For more from Medscape Oncology, follow us on Twitter:  @MedscapeOnc

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