Study: Glowing Dye Could Potentially be Used to Help Treat Prostate Cancer

Study: Glowing Dye Could Potentially be Used to Help Treat Prostate Cancer
Image copyright: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

The Facts

  • Oxford University researchers say they may have found a dye that attaches only to a kind of protein found in cancer cells — which could help surgeons more easily find and remove prostate cancers.

  • The dye reportedly glows when illuminated during surgery — helping to reduce recurrence and also side effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction by allowing surgeons to remove less healthy tissue.

The Spin

Narrative A

What's primarily needed on the prostate cancer front is an extensive and open discussion about screening benefits and risks. The US Preventive Services Task Force advises against routine screening after age 69, despite it being the second-leading cause of cancer deaths. Treatment decisions are not easy — medical advances like these are encouraging, and better research will help to inform tricky conversations regarding this serious medical condition.

Narrative B

Research shows that often "watchful waiting" or prostate-specific antigen is people's preferred choice over surgery given the relatively fewer chances of harm. While it might slightly increase the risk of death, it also involves fewer complications. Studies suggest surgery should be reserved for younger patients or those with aggressive cancers. Most prostate cancers grow slowly and do not cause death, supporting less aggressive treatment approaches — something that must be factored in when assessing new medical advances.

Metaculus Prediction

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