Archive for 2012

Warren Buffett diagnosed with prostate cancer

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet was diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. The 81 year old chairman and CEO ofBerkshireinvestors, was diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer. Warren Buffett’s decision to undergo radiation therapy for Stage 1 prostate cancer has refocused attention on a debate of screening and treating older men for a disease that most often kill them.

“Generally, in a person over 80 years old, you’d be very hesitant to treat a prostate cancer unless it’s clearly life-threatening,” said Dr. Peter Scardino, chairman of the surgery department atMemorialSloan-KetteringCancerCenterinNew York. “Doctors caution men that at that age, prostate cancer is very common. Most of the time it’s not dangerous to their life or their health. It’s unusual, in our experience, to treat someone over 80, although I’ve done it.”  No doctor wants to second guess Buffet’s decision, especially without at least two key pieces of information that he didn’t disclose when he announced his diagnosis last Tuesday: PSA and his Gleason score. This could help determine how aggressive the tumor is.

“Although stage 1 prostate cancer, by definition, hasn’t spread beyond the prostate gland, you could still have stage 1 and have an aggressive tumor,” said Dr. Patrick Walsh, a urology professor at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions inBaltimore. While acknowledging the he didn’t have the important details of Buffett’s case, Dr. Walsh suggested that “the fact that he is waiting three months to begin radiation suggests to me that he might be going to receive neoadjuvant hormonal therapy and that is consistent with more aggressive disease.”

CPC neither aggress nor disagrees with the prostate cancer specialists, it is mainly the patients decision if they would like treatment. We do encourage men who have atleast a 10 year life expectancy to consider treatment. Mr. Buffett could have an excellent quality of life and live for another 15-20 years.

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New Study confirms PSA screening saves lives

For the past 20 years studies have shown a nearly 40% decrease in deaths from prostate cancer, although there has been no increase in incidence during this interval. A follow-up study of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study confirmed what physicians have known for years: PSA screening is a valuable life-saving tool. Six months ago, the U.S. Preventive Task Force recommended that healthy men should no longer receive PSA tests as a part of their routine cancer screening. This decision against routine PSA screening was made by a panel that does not include urologists or oncologists.

Dr. Deepak A. Kapoor wrote, “What is particularly disturbing about all this discussion is that PSA screening itself is not a treatment, but merely a simple blood test. There are essentially no risks to screening, and with screening results, patients have the information they need to make a better informed decision about their health.” Dr. Kapoor also stated “the decision on how to screen and treat prostate cancer should stay where it has always been: between the patients and their physicians.”

CPC agrees with Dr. Kapoor. Prostate cancer screenings, which include the PSA blood test and digital rectal exam, help detect prostate cancer in the earlier stages. Patients should be able to get all of the information possible to make an informed decision regarding their health.

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Data Show 15 Percent Drop in Prostate Cancer Deaths

Each year more men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but fewer men are dying from the disease. Data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and the national Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2002, incidence rates of prostate cancer will increase slightly, while death rates from the disease will decrease. Skip Lockwood, CEO of Zero – – The Project to End Prostate Cancer said “This year alone, more than 241,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 28,000 will die from the disease.” Because of early detection efforts, more than 90% of prostate cancers are discovered in the local or regional stages. When prostate cancer is detected in the earlier stages, the survival rate approaches 100%. For reasons still unclear, prostate cancer incidence rates are significantly higher in African Americans than in Caucasians, and death rates in African Americans remain more than twice as high as those in Caucasians. Other risk factors for prostate cancer include age and family history of the disease.

CPC encourages men to consult with their physicians and make an appointment to have their PSA (prostate specific antigen)checked along with a DRE (digital rectal exam), to maintain a healthy prostate.

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Prostate Cancer Radiation is Expensive

In a study of prostate cancer treatments comparing external radiation therapy, brachytherapy (radiation seed implant) and prostatectomy (surgical removal), researchers found that brachytherapy was the most economic option for patients and was also associated with the least side effects. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic analyzed data on 137,427 prostate cancer patients to compare external-based radiation therapy against prostatectomy and brachytherapy.

The lead author and Cleveland Clinic Radiation Oncologist, Jay Ciezki, M.D. stated, “We were able to get a good picture of the long-term costs of patient care and we were surprised to see such dramatic differences among the three treatment strategies.”

External Radiation therapy, such as IMRT, was the most expensive option, double the cost of a prostatectomy or brachytherapy. External Radiation therapy or IMRT, also had the highest rate of urinary bleeding or scarring, with 7.1 % of patient’s developing problems, compared to prostatectomy at 6.7 % and 3.4 % for brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy (seed implant) is a one time, out-patient procedure, where small, radioactive seeds are placed inside the prostate tumor to kill the cancer.

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High Milk Intake Linked to Prostate Cancer

Researchers at theUniversityofIcelandinReykjavikperformed a study on milk intake during puberty in men. The study group was comprised of 8,894 men born between 1907 and 1935 inIceland. Through linkage to cancer and mortality registries, the men were followed for prostate cancer diagnosis and mortality from study entry (in waves from 1967 to 1987) through 2009. From 2002-2006, a subgroup of 2,268 participants reported their milk intake in early, mid-, and current life. During a 24-year follow-up, 1,123 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 371 with advanced disease. Men who spent the first 20 years of life nearReykjavikwere 29% less likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, compared with those who as teens lived in the rural areas. Among men who were born before 1920, the risk was 64% higher for men in the rural areas, compared with those in nearReykjavik.

This study also states that they are not suggesting for teenage boys to avoid milk products. The researchers support the idea that milk from cows is designed for baby cows. All mammals produce a species-specific type of milk. It is not necessary to consume milk products; other sources of calcium are plentiful, such as calcium-fortified orange juice, calcium-fortified soy milk, or calcium tablets.

CPC recommends maintaining a healthy life style, getting your annual PSA checks and consulting your physician for any health concerns you have.

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