Cancer

Adding hormonal therapy to radiation lengthens survival in men with recurring prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease

For men who have had prostate gland removal surgery, results from a new study show that a combination of radiation treatment and androgen deprivation therapy is more effective for treating PSA recurrence than radiation alone.

To PSA test or not to PSA test: That is the discussion

Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH

The recommended guidelines for whether men should have the prostate cancer screening test have changed in recent years. A man considering the test should talk with his doctor and understand all the pros and cons involved.

The problem with tanning (and the myth of the base tan)

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

The earlier one starts tanning, the longer the lifetime skin damage and the higher the skin cancer risk. As the number of people with skin cancer increases, it has become especially important to convey to teenagers the message that tanning is an unhealthy choice, whether it’s outdoors or in a tanning bed.

New imaging technique may help some men avoid prostate biopsy

Charlie Schmidt
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease

In a British study, a specialized type of MRI test did significantly better at identifying high-grade prostate tumors than a transrectal ultrasound biopsy. It’s hoped that one day this test might help men avoid prostate biopsies and their potential complications.

Immediate radiation when PSA levels spike after prostate cancer surgery helps reduce risk of recurrence

Charlie Schmidt
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease

After prostate cancer surgery, the patient’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is monitored by his doctor via a simple blood test. New research indicates that if the PSA increases following surgery, immediate radiation therapy can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

Cervical cancer screening update: Not your mother’s Pap smear

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

Recent research supports the theory the human papilloma virus (HPV) plays a critical role in the development of abnormal cervical cells and cervical cancers. Based on this knowledge, experts believe that many women are being over-screened and treated for abnormal cells that are unlikely to ever become cancerous. Testing for strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer, along with the Pap smear, may do a better job preventing cervical cancer than the Pap smear alone. Guidelines are evolving and that yearly Pap smear may be unnecessary for many women.

Colon cancer screening: Is there an easier, effective way?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

The preparations necessary for a colonoscopy can be as unpleasant as the test itself, if not more so. A new test can be completed at home and requires no special prep, but the test is more likely to return a false positive, requiring further testing. In addition, some of the research supporting this test was done by the company or co-inventors, so more research is needed.

Movember: Stashing prostate and testicular cancer awareness into the limelight

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

The Movember movement began in 2003 to help raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancers as well as other health concerns including mental health issues. One of the primary goals of this initiative is to encourage men to take the time to pay attention to their health. This includes doing self-exams and getting the necessary screenings so that cancers can be detected and treated earlier.

Treatment versus monitoring of prostate cancer: Survival rates the same after 10 years

Charlie Schmidt
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease

Two new studies add to the evidence that for many men with prostate cancer, if it is detected early and has not metastasized beyond the prostate gland, monitoring the cancer will lead to the same chance of survival after 10 as choosing surgery or radiation. Men treated with surgery or radiation often experience significant side effects. The rates of depression and anxiety were the same in men who opted for monitoring and those who opted for treatment.

Treating the primary tumor can improve survival in men whose prostate cancer has spread

Charlie Schmidt
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease

For men with prostate cancer that has metastasized, treatment usually focuses on the tumors that develop elsewhere in the body. But treating the primary tumor in the prostate with radiation or surgery could result in longer overall survival.