Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a consumer update concerning prostate cancer symptoms, tests, and treatments.
Why did the FDA issue the consumer update?
Prostate cancer is the leading cancer in men. The FDA regulates tests to detect prostate cancer. It also ensures that treatments for prostate cancer are safe and effective. As such, the FDA issued the update primarily to remind the public to get tested for the potentially dangerous disease.
What are the signs of prostate cancer?
Oftentimes, there are no signs of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, this can make the disease difficult to detect. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include problems urinating, pain, weakness or unexplained weight loss.
What tests can detect prostate cancer?
Blood testing is the common method to screen for prostate cancer. The most common test measures prostate-specific antigen (“PSA”). PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland.
Imaging is another effective method to detect prostate cancer. Additionally, a biopsy of the prostate may be taken when the risk of cancer is high.
What causes prostate cancer?
While the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, certain factors are known to increase the risk of prostate cancer. These include genetics and family history of prostate cancer. Further, age and race increase a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, exposure to chemicals increase the risk of developing cancer. For example, tobacco use increases the risk of cancer generally. Additionally, studies suggest that exposure to chemicals such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
What is PFAS?
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals known as “forever chemicals.” Because PFAS are stain-resistant, waterproof, and grease-resistant, they can be found in a wide range of products including cookware, clothing, and furniture. Notably, PFAS are used in Aqueous Film Forming Foams (“AFFF”) which is used to extinguish petroleum-based fuel and other flammable liquid fires. PFAS in AFFF are the subject of litigation right now.
What does prostate cancer have to do with PFAS litigation?
Thousands of firefighters have filed suit against the manufacturers of AFFF alleging that exposure to AFFF containing PFAS caused them to develop prostate cancer. The court appointed Plaintiffs’ Leadership Committee is working to retain experts and review scientific literature to support their claims. Importantly, the science is evolving as researchers continue to study the link between PFAS and prostate cancer.
If you were diagnosed with prostate cancer and believe you have been exposed to PFAS in AFFF, please contact Stag Liuzza at (504) 593-9600 for a consultation.