Archive for 2011

Prostate Cancer Hormonal Therapy Cuts Deaths, Report Says

According to a new review of men with aggressive prostate cancer, hormone-targeted therapy cuts the overall risk of death. It also does not increase the chances of men dying from cardiovascular disease, which some researchers suggested might be the case.

Dr. Paul Nguyen, lead author of the study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital inBostonsaid; “I think that these results should be very reassuring for the majority of patient’s who are thinking of androgen deprivation therapy for their prostate cancer.”  The study consisted of 2,500 men that were treated with androgen deprivation therapy for three months or more, and 2,300 that were not. During the follow-up period, 38% of men undergoing hormone-targeted therapy died compared to the higher death rate of 44% of men who did not undergo hormone therapy. When the researchers looked specifically at the deaths caused by prostate cancer, they noted that 14% of men on hormone therapy died from prostate cancer, compared to 22% that were not. There was no extra risk of cardiovascular death from the hormones. “Our study does not leave ADT off the hook in terms of causing things like increased insulin resistance and diabetes. There could very well still be some adverse cardiovascular consequences that don’t lead to death.” Nguyen stated.

This study was on patients with intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer. CPC recommends for patient’s to always consult with their physicians regarding all treatment options.

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Well-Done Red Meat May Increase Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco offer further evidence of a link between aggressive prostate cancer and meat consumption, and suggest it is driven largely by consumption of grilled or barbecued red meat, especially when it is well-done.

The researchers embarked on the study because although established, the link between meat consumption and prostate cancer was not clear. They questioned whether inconsistency reflects an effect whereby different types of tumors are linked to different types of meat preparation, due to different cancer-causing compounds, or carcinogens.

The study consisted of 470 men with aggressive prostate cancer and 512 matched controls that did not have prostate cancer between 2001 and 2004. Each participant completed a questionnaire that enabled the researchers to access not only their meat intake for the past 12 months, but also the type a meat and how the meat was prepared.

The researchers found that:

  • The higher consumption of any ground beef or processed meats was positively linked with aggressive prostate cancer, with ground beef showing the strongest association.
  • Men who ate high levels of well or very well cooked ground beef had twice the odds of developing aggressive prostate cancer compared to the men who ate none. Low consumption raised the odds to 1.5.
  • In contrast, no such link was found between consumption of rare or medium cooked ground beef and aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Looking at the potential carcinogens by cooking meat at high temperatures, they detected an increased risk of aggressive cancer.

CPC recommends annual prostate screening which includes PSA (prostate specific antigen) and digital rectal exam (DRE). Talk to your doctor about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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How to Treat Male Menopause

As men age, their total serum testosterone level decreases during the third decade of life and gradually declines by 0.4-2.6. By the age of 60, 20% of the general population is termed testosterone deficient. Many physicians are reluctant to prescribe testosterone therapy, as they have been educated in the past that elevated testosterone levels can cause metastatic prostate cancer.

This data came from researches by the name of Huggins and Hodges. Their study analyzed men that previously had prostate cancer and were treated with brachytherapy, radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy. The men who received testosterone therapy had low-grade prostate cancer without evidence of metastatic disease. Eight out of the nine studies that they reviewed did not show a significant recurrence of the disease with the presence of testosterone therapy; however they did find a positive impact on treating symptoms of androgen deprivation.

If you feel that you are a candidate for testosterone therapy, discuss with your physician the various treatment options. If you do undergo therapy, remember to get your annual digital rectal exam, as well as PSA (prostate specific antigen) to monitor change.

CPC recommends patients always ask their physicians for all treatment options and to also have annual prostate screenings which includes PSA (prostate specific antigen) and a DRE (digital rectal exam).

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Doctors defend prostate screening, PSA test does more good than harm, many argue, and saves lives

Doctors across the US are arguing with the U.S. Preventive Task Force recommendations to prevent healthy men of all ages to have their PSA’s checked, stating that PSA(prostate specific antigen) screening helps diagnosis early stages of prostate cancer. The physicians do understand that early detection of prostate cancer can often lead to unnecessary surgeries and radiation treatment, which can cause life-altering side effects, even though they don’t always extend the life of the patient. They also believe that if the physicians used up-to-date guidelines and techniques, the task force’s concerns would be minimized.

Dr. Scott Eggner, urologic oncologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center stated “In general, I think it’s a bad idea to encourage all young healthy men to stop getting tested. PSA screening definitely saves lives.”

CPC agrees with the physicians. PSA screening along with a digital rectal exam is the best option available to detect prostate cancer.

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Vitamin E Consumption and Prostate Cancer Prevention: Supplements may cause more harm than good.

A recent ten-year study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, set out to prove the benefits of vitamin E and the mineral selenium in preventing prostate cancer. This study took place in many areas of the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. The findings did not show any positive association between Vitamin E and prostate cancer prevention. When researchers further examined the study participants, there was evidence that the supplement may have actually caused prostate cancer in some participants. Based on the data, it’s hard to say if increasing Vitamin E actually causes prostate cancer, however, in the study of 35,000 men, there was a 17% increased risk of prostate cancer among those taking 400 IU/ day of vitamin E.

Dr. Samadi of the Mount Sinai Medical Center believes that prostate cancer prevention begins with the basics. “There are simple things that men can do to optimize their prostate health,” he says, “Maintain a healthy weight through regular, moderate exercise. Plan a balanced diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, that’s where the antioxidants are. And get your annual PSA
(Prostate Specific Antigen) screening. It does work and it gives us vital information about your prostate health.”

Chicago Prostate Center agrees with Dr. Samadi. Many Americans choose supplements as an easy fix for health. Prostate Cancer is a tricky cancer.  There are really no signs or symptoms of
early stage cancer. Eating healthy foods, exercise and having a yearly prostate screening is important. Prostate screening includes a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE).

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Educating patients about myths surrounding prostate cancer

There are many rumors about prostate cancer and its treatments, which prevent patients and their families from feeling confident about their treatment options and often causes unnecessary fear.

Chicago Prostate Cancer Center believes educating patients and their loved ones empowers them to make the best decisions for their health. We work hard to dispel myths surrounding prostate cancer and its treatments so patients can concentrate on the only thing that really matters – their health.

Some of the most common questions and incorrect information our patients ask for clarification about is the area of surgery vs. brachytherapy. Many falsely believe if a man is ‘young’ (under age 62), he should have surgery because ‘he will do better’.

Published data, however, demonstrates brachytherapy is an excellent and equal treatment option for younger patients. There is no scientific data to suggest younger patients have better cure rates with surgery. This has long been a misconception on the part of not only patients, but also physicians! In fact, there are numerous studies that show that there are no differences in cure rates with young patients (age 62 or less) versus older patients (references 1,2, and 4). All treatment options should be offered to patients. A recent study concluded that of patients with prostate cancer treated with a monotherapeutic approach, better urinary continence was exhibited in those who underwent radiation-based therapies. Furthermore, higher sexual function scores were seen in men who selected brachytherapy (reference 3).

For more information on this myth and more, visit our website here. We also release a new myth and answer every Monday on our Facebook and Twitter.

1. Ho, AY et al. Young Men have Equivalent Biochemical Outcomes Compared to Older Men After Treatment With Prostate Brachytherapy Volume 69, Issue 3, Supplement, Pages S90-S91 (1 November 2007)
2. Merrick, GS et al. Brachytherapy in men age less than or equal to 54 years with clinically localized prostate cancer. BJU Int’l (98), 324-328, 2006.
3. Frank SJ, et al. An assessment of quality of life following radical prostatectomy, high dose external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy iodine implantation as monotherapies for localized prostate cancer. J Urol, Jun 177(6), 2151-6, 2007.
4. Sharkey J, et al. 103Pd brachytherapy versus radical prostatectomy in patients with clinically localized prostate cancer: a 12-year experience from a single group practice. Brachytherapy, 4(1): 34-44, 2005.

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Australian Article Contends Brachytherapy is the Best Treatment for Prostate Cancer

A recent Australian article, written by Jill Margo and published in The Australia Financial Review (Feb. 24, 2011) states that, “The biggest comparative study in the world is showing that, for a long-term cure, seed therapy appears to be the most effective treatment. Alone or in combination with other treatments, it appears most effective across all risk groups, from men with low-risk cancer through to those with high-risk disease.” Tom Pickles, professor and radiation oncologist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada, presented interim results at the Urological Society of Australia and NZ’s conference in Christchurch from a study overseen by an international panel of 27 experts from around the world. The study assimilated data from more than 18,000 articles written from 2000 to 2010. So far the results from the study show that in men with low-risk cancers, seeds produce a cure rate of around 90 percent compared with 80 percent for surgery or traditional radiation.

“Whatever the risk category, the results of seeds are probably better than surgery,” Pickles says. “As you go along the spectrum from low- to high-risk diseases, the differences between surgery and seeds increase.”

Pickles also states that men’s quality of life is significantly better after brachytherapy compared to surgery, particularly in their sexual function. He says, “…seed therapy is less invasive than other treatments and there is good evidence it is the preferred and best treatment option of all treatments for preserving erectile function.”

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