The Prostate Cancer Foundation has an annual scientific retreat where the top research scientists get together and review and summarize the major breakthroughs of the year. The Foundation provided a summary this week that, thank you, offered the summaries in language that would excite a scientist, and a separate summary that helps us normal folks understand what the heck they were trying to say.

Just a few of the highlights that I believe we can draw hope from was the discovery of chromosomal fusion. In a nutshell, knowing that this DNA change takes place at the very beginning of the formation of prostate cancer may offer new ways to test for early onset. Previously we had to wait until there was some change in the PSA and often, by the time the PSA showed a significant enough change to warrant further testing, the cancer was advanced. By testing for chromosomal fusion, tests such urinalysis could be used to determine if any DNA shifting had occurred.

While the conclusion was that further study is needed, there is growing evidence that lifestyle may play a key role, and specifically the way food is prepared. Our Cajun friends will not be happy with this, but it seems there is a link between charred (blackened) meats that cause a major dietary cancer-causing chemical (carcinogen) called PhiP, to settle in the prostate.

And finally, nanotechnology, the microscopic delivery of cancer fighting drugs to nano specific areas is gaining momentum. Each new step that can help deliver the needed drug to the specific target is a step toward improved treatment and ultimately improved success.

Bottom line. Prostate cancer detected early and treated correctly is ultimately survivable. These scientific breakthroughs are great news for the 1 in 6 men who develop prostate cancer, and for every prostate cancer survivor who seeks fair life insurance rates.