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A Message from Dr. Nancy Mendenhall

nancyAs the principal investigator of the COMPPARE study, I am proud to introduce the inaugural edition of our newsletter COMPPARE Connection. COMPPARE (A Prospective COMparative Study of Outcomes with Proton and Photon RAdiation in PRostate CancEr) is a PCORI-funded research study that seeks to compare the quality of life, side effects, and cure rates for prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy or photon therapy across the country.

About 160,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, and approximately one-third of all men with the disease receive radiation therapy. While radiation effectively fights cancer, it can sometimes cause bowel and bladder damage that leads to organ dysfunction and reduces quality of life. Most radiation therapy is delivered using photons (also known as X-rays), but proton therapy is an alternative treatment that uses a focused beam of protons rather than traditional X-rays to target tumors and cancer cells more precisely. However, many insurers do not cover proton therapy for prostate cancer due to its higher cost and unanswered questions about its relative effectiveness compared to photon therapy.

To address these issues, we are asking 3,000 men between the ages of 30-80 being treated with radiation for prostate cancer to answer brief surveys regarding treatment choice, quality of life, and side effects. We hope to follow participants for 10 years, and at this point have funding for the first 3 years.

We will directly compare the potential benefits and risks of protons versus photons. Our long-term goal is to help future patients make informed treatment decisions. The results will also provide insurers with new data needed to make appropriate coverage and policy decisions around the use of proton therapy for prostate cancer.

Written by members of the Patient/Caregiver Stakeholder Group and Minority Engagement Group, which advise our study team, COMPPARE Connection is an informative and inspirational publication that will not only help you to learn more about the study and our progress but also connect you with the larger prostate cancer community. We look forward to sharing patient-centered information with you over the coming months!

Best wishes,

Nancy Mendenhall, MD

COMPPARE Principal Investigator