SOUTH AFRICA – Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, has announced a partnership with Swiss Debiopharm to launch Trelstar in South Africa (SA) for the treatment of locally advanced and metastatic hormone dependent prostate cancer.

The drug also named Triptorelin is a synthetic analogue of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) developed by Debiopharm to be marketed by Aspen in the country.

Aspen intends to deliver a world class oncology product in the treatment of prostate cancer and the partnership with Debiopharm to commercialize Trelstar within the South African market is vital.

Trelstar works by reducing testosterone levels, a hormone essential to prostate cancer growth, where deprivation of testosterone will stop the growth of prostate cancer cells thus alleviating pain and improving the quality of life of patients.

Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce more rapidly than normal resulting in a tumor that if left untreated, prostate cancer cells eventually spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body.

According to The SA Men’s Foundation, Prostate cancer is the leading cancer affecting men in South Africa and the second most frequently diagnosed cancer among men globally.

It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths as most prostate cancers develop without men experiencing any symptoms in the early stages.

Many times, the signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up after some men experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer,” confirmed the Men’s Foundation.

The main prostate cancer symptoms include blood in the urine or semen, bone pain, erectile dysfunction, weak urine flow and painful urination.

Though prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, the chances of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50 as it is estimated that 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65,” reported the SA Men’s Foundation.

Men above 45 years of age are advised to discuss the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their healthcare team ergo make an informed decision whether to be screened using the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test with or without a digital rectal exam.

Meanwhile, a high-sensitivity cancer-screening test is expected to arrive in South Africa and the tests can detect the earliest traces of cancers, from prostate cancer to breast cancer, from a simple blood sample by detecting circulating tumor cells (CTCs).

The blood-based “Trucheck” cancer-screening test, developed by India-based Datar Cancer Genetics’ Laboratories, is described as an accessible and affordable cancer-screening test to be used as part of annual health checks by all individuals of 40 years and older.

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