Charlie Schmidt

Charlie Schmidt is an award-winning freelance science writer based in Portland, Maine. In addition to writing for Harvard Health Publishing, Charlie has written for Science magazine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Environmental Health Perspectives, Nature Biotechnology, and The Washington Post.


Posts by Charlie Schmidt

Influential task force issues new recommendations on prostate cancer screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Back in 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) took aim at the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test for prostate cancer with a blanket recommendation against it for all men. This was a big deal. The Task Force is widely seen as the top expert panel on cancer screening in the United States, and […]

Diagnostic MRIs allow some men flagged by PSA screening to avoid a biospy, new study shows

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A specialized type of diagnostic MRI scan can reduce the number of invasive prostate biopsies by nearly a third, according to results from a newly published international study. An MRI machine uses a very large magnet, a radio-wave transmitter, and a computer to construct detailed pictures of structures inside the body. The new study relied […]

New study once again casts doubt on PSA screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

The largest study to date of prostate cancer screening reinforces the existing evidence that the potential benefits of the test are outweighed by the harms of overtreatment for low-grade cancer that could be left untreated.

A mix of treatments may extend life for men with aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Combining multiple forms of radiation therapy with hormone treatments lengthens survival in men with aggressive prostate cancer.

New study once again casts doubt on PSA screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

To screen or not to screen for prostate cancer? This remains an important question. Screening relies on a highly imperfect measure, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which is prone to false-positive results. And with mounting evidence that survival benefits from screening pale in comparison with the harms from overtreatment — particularly incontinence and impotence […]

A mix of treatments may extend life for men with aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

For men diagnosed with aggressive cancer that’s confined to the prostate and nearby tissues, the overarching goal of treatment is to keep the disease from spreading (or metastasizing) in the body. Doctors can treat these men with localized therapies, such as surgery and different types of radiation that target the prostate directly. And they can […]

FDA approves new drug for men at high risk of prostate cancer spread

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men whose PSA levels continue rising even after surgery or radiation therapy may have a new treatment option with the approval of the drug apalutamide.

FDA approves new drug for men at high risk of prostate cancer spread

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A newly approved drug called apalutamide is giving hope to thousands of men confronting a tenacious problem after being treated for prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels should plummet to zero after surgery, and to near zero after radiation therapy, but in some men, they continue rising even when there’s no other evidence of cancer […]

Newer drugs are improving survival for men with metastatic prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men with prostate cancer that has spread outside the gland now have several newer drug options available for treatment, and research has found that taking any of them is likely to improve survival duration.

New study downplays potential risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among elderly men treated with hormonal therapy for prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

The male hormone testosterone contributes to normal brain function, and some research links memory loss in older men to testosterone declines that occur naturally with aging. However, testosterone is also like jet fuel for prostate tumors, causing them to grow faster, so during cancer treatment doctors will often give hormonal therapies that suppress its activities […]