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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.

... Full Story

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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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

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