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PSA screening may have improved prostate cancer survival
Date: 2012-08-23 20:02:09

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio discovered that the use of a lab test to screen for prostate specific antigen (PSA) may have improved prostate cancer survival rates since it was introduced in the mid-1990s.

This conclusion is based on a review of three clinical trials that included prostate cancer patients who underwent androgen deprivation treatment. Two of these trials took place before PSA screening became widespread, while the other took place after.

Data analysis revealed that the median survival times of patients treated during 1985 to 1986 and 1989 to 1994 were 30 and 33 months, respectively. By contrast, the survival time of patients between 1995 and 2009 was 49 months. Overall, the risk of death fell by 30 percent between the earliest and latest studies.

"Our analysis indicates an overall improvement in risk adjusted survival rates for non-African American and African American men. Of note is the resolution of disparity in survival between the races found in earlier studies," says lead investigator Ian Thompson, Jr., M.D.

While PSA screening may have influenced these results, the researchers speculated that greater awareness and healthy behavior also played major roles.

Men who want to find out if they have prostate cancer can undergo a lab test to screen for PSA.

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Racial disparities in prostate cancer care persist
Date: 2012-08-24 20:47:35

A lab test to screen for prostate cancer is the first step toward adequate treatment, which may include surgical removal of the organ. However, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that black men tend to receive a lower quality of care than white men.

This conclusion is based on a review of the medical records of nearly 106,000 prostate cancer patients who underwent radical prostatectomies in Florida, Maryland and New York.

Results showed that black men were 33 percent less likely than white men to receive care from a high-volume surgeon, and 27 percent less likely to be treated at a high-volume hospital. This is important, considering previous studies revealed that surgical outcomes from high-volume surgeons and hospitals were better.

Furthermore, black patients had a higher rate of blood transfusion, longer hospital stays and a greater risk of death in the hospital.

These results remained significant after adjusting for other factors, such as insurance status.

"Racial disparities in prostate cancer outcomes may be partially explained by differences in access to high quality care, which in turn may reflect differences in patient resources," said researcher Daniel Barocas, M.D., M.P.H. "To close this gap, we may need interventions aimed at improving access to high-quality care for all men, including access to high volume health care providers."

These findings may be important for men who screen positive for prostate cancer through a lab test.

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Expert dispels myths surrounding prostate cancer
Date: 2012-08-27 21:34:58

Some men may be concerned about finding the best way to reduce the likelihood that they will screen positive for prostate cancer through a blood test. However, there may be many misconceptions about prevention and treatment of this malignant disease, according to Alan Kristal, Dr.P.H., director of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Three major myths surround the consumption of specific nutrients as a way to prevent prostate cancer. Specifically, men may think that higher levels of lycopene, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and vitamin E in their diets may lower their risk of the disease. However, studies have shown that there are no links between prostate cancer, selenium or lycopene, which is found in tomato-based products. Furthermore, high levels of omega-3s and vitamin E may actually elevate prostate cancer risk, according to Kristal.

Studies have also shown that, contrary to popular belief, there is also no link between prostate cancer risk and testosterone levels.

Two more misconceptions about this disease concern screenings and treatments. Some people think that a blood test for the prostate cancer marker PSA may not be helpful in determining which cases are treatable. However, this screen, when combined with biopsy samples, can help doctors form a thorough prognosis, said biostatistician Ruth Etzioni, Ph.D.

Furthermore, the rates of men who are overdiagnosed or overtreated after a PSA screening are much lower than previously estimated, Etzioni added.... Full Story

Prostate cancer patients may benefit from aspirin regimen
Date: 2012-08-29 19:32:48

A lab test to screen for prostate cancer is one of the first steps that men can take toward tackling this disease. Those who have the illness can turn to different treatment options, such as surgery or radiation. Anticoagulant therapy may also be beneficial.

Now, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center suggest that aspirin may extend the lives of prostate cancer patients.

This conclusion is based on a study of nearly 6,000 men who underwent radiotherapy or surgery for prostate cancer. About 37 percent of subjects took anticoagulants, which included warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin and aspirin.

The 10-year mortality rates among those who did or did not take anticoagulants were 3 percent and 8 percent, respectively. The strongest effects were seen among those who took aspirin.

"The results from this study suggest that aspirin prevents the growth of tumor cells in prostate cancer, especially in high-risk prostate cancer, for which we do not have a very good treatment currently," said researcher first author Kevin Choe. "But we need to better understand the optimal use of aspirin before routinely recommending it to all prostate cancer patients."

In the meantime, men can monitor their response to prostate cancer treatment with help from a lab test.

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Genetics tied to development of erectile dysfunction in prostate cancer patients
Date: 2012-09-28 21:14:46

In the upcoming edition of the Journal of Radiation Oncology 'Biology 'Physics, an international publication, medical experts detail the 12 genetic markers they've discovered that result in sexual dysfunction for males treated with radiation after receiving an affirmative blood test for prostate cancer.

Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University pinpointed these markers after comparing tests of hundreds of patients who had undergone radiotherapy for prostate cancer, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports kills almost 30,000 men annually.

"Thankfully, current treatments for prostate cancer offer excellent rates of long-term survival," said Barry Rosenstien, a professor of radiation oncology at Mount Sinai. "However, the risk of developing erectile dysfunction after radiation treatment is highly variable, suggesting there may be a genetic component to determining that risk."

The scientists hope these findings will help future physicians predict when individuals who take a blood test detecting prostate cancer could develop erectile dysfunction from radiotherapy and arrange treatments accordingly.

The CDC states that symptoms that could indicate the presence of prostate cancer include irregular urination, pain or bleeding during urination and pain during ejaculation.

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Vitamins may reduce likelihood of cancer for men
Date: 2012-10-18 18:48:12

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that there was a slight decrease in the number of cases of cancer among men who took vitamins during a decade-long trial, BBC News reported.

The research, which was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, looked at 15,000 men who were over 50 years old for more than ten years. The men were divided up into two groups: One received a multivitamin every day, while the other group took a sugar pill daily. The results showed that there were 17 cases of cancer for every 1,000 men who took the vitamins and 18 cases of cancer for every 1,000 men who took the placebo.

The news source noted that many experts recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in order to receive the proper amount of nutrients.

"Now we know that taking a daily multivitamin, in addition to addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, may also be considered in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men," one of the research authors, Howard Sesso, Sc.D., M.P.H. told BBC News.

You can find out if you're deficient in a certain vitamin by taking a blood test. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), individuals who experience numbness or tingling in the extremities may want to get tested for levels vitamin B12, because these symptoms can be caused by a deficiency in the nutrient.

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Protein may indicate the severity of prostate cancer
Date: 2012-10-29 21:47:10

According to new research, which was funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, testing for a protein that may be able to indicate how severe a person's prostate cancer will be.

The study showed that the protein is responsible for keeping cells tightly connected and preserving the tissue's structure, which helps prevent cancerous cells from spreading. Not only does this indicate how lethal the prostate cancer is, but it can also be a predictor for its recurrence.

"Our findings indicate that the loss of β2-syntrophin at cell-to-cell connections in the prostate is an indicator of prostate cancer progression and patients with reduced levels of this protein at these cell-to-cell connections are more likely to have a recurrence of their cancer after treatment," said research author Natalie Mack, M.D.

The authors also noted that further research on the protein should be conducted so healthcare providers can tell the risk level of patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, so they can be treated effectively.

Prostate cancer risk factors... Full Story

Flavonoid consumption may be linked to less aggressive prostate cancer
Date: 2012-10-19 16:24:02
HealthDay News has reported that a new study may indicate that consuming more flavonoid compounds can help curb the threat of aggressive prostate cancer.... Full Story

Eating pan-fried meat may increase men's risk of prostate cancer
Date: 2012-08-17 16:10:45
Men who regularly eat meat cooked through pan frying may be elevating their risk of screening positive for prostate cancer through a lab test, according to scientists from the University of Southern California and Cancer Prevention Institute of California.... Full Story

Researchers connect two viruses to prostate cancer
Date: 2012-08-01 13:51:44
A team of scientists found possible links between prostate cancer and both the human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV). These results may have implications for men who, with the help of a lab test, discover that they have this malignant disease.... Full Story

PSA guidelines could lead to growth in prostate cancer cases
Date: 2012-07-31 16:20:07
In 2011, health experts from the federal government concluded that the use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening had little to no effect on the treatment of non-aggressive prostate cancers. However, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded that without this lab test, 17,000 more men a year may develop advanced prostate cancer.... Full Story

No clear-cut answers for prostate cancer testing
Date: 2012-06-15 14:52:29
Lab testing for prostate cancer plays an important role in men's health. However, it can be difficult for individuals to know when they should get themselves tested, as there is a lot of conflicting information.... Full Story

New study proves prostate cancer blood testing value in younger men
Date: 2012-05-24 16:31:37
There has been a significant amount of controversy over the appropriateness of blood tests for prostate cancer in recent months. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against such testing, but new evidence suggests that PSA testing may accurately predict men's future prostate cancer risk.... Full Story

New paper explains opposition to prostate cancer testing guidelines
Date: 2012-05-23 16:12:53
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stirred up a great deal of controversy this week when it issued a report recommending against a common blood test for prostate cancer. Many people think the group's recommendations are unwise. So why has the public reacted so angrily toward the recommendations?... Full Story

New radiation treatments of questionable benefit in prostate cancer
Date: 2012-05-16 15:39:36
For years, typical radiation treatment was the standard therapy for men who received lab test results indicating they have prostate cancer. Today, there are a number of new radiation-based options that claim to offer better results. However, a new study suggests that one of these treatments may not be worth the cost.... Full Story

Experts recommend prostate cancer testing for middle-age men
Date: 2012-05-07 15:59:46
Lab tests for prostate cancer are generally recommended for older men, but many experts say that younger individuals have less to gain. However, a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that testing may be important for men in their 50s and older.... Full Story

Robot-assisted prostate surgery improves outcomes
Date: 2012-04-25 16:12:42
After a man receives lab test results indicating he has prostate cancer, his primary concern may be about the side effects of treatment. The cancer is very slow to progress, so it generally has favorable treatment outcomes. However, many of the therapies used can lead to erectile dysfunction and incontinence.... Full Story

Prostate medication may lead to sexual side effects
Date: 2012-04-17 15:53:27
After lab testing reveals an enlarged prostate, many men area prescribed medications like Proscar or Propecia to reduce the size of the gland. However, new evidence suggests that these medications may be linked to a high risk of sexual side effects.... Full Story

Early balding linked to prostate problems
Date: 2012-02-24 17:04:05
Men who began balding at a young age may benefit from seeking lab testing to determine the health of their prostates. New research indicates that individuals with early-onset androgenic alopecia tend to have larger prostates.... Full Story

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