Risks and Prevention

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 […]

Strong study shows no link between vasectomy and prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charles Schmidt In the 1980s, reports began to surface of a potential connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer. This worried men considering vasectomies for birth control, but it was also controversial. Some studies detected an association while others didn’t. Harvard Prostate Knowledge last covered the topic in 2015, after the largest study to that point […]

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

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charles Schmidt A pair of new studies provides useful information to men facing challenging decisions about what to do after being diagnosed with early prostate cancer. Researchers tracked men for 10 years and found that virtually none died of the illness, even if they decided against treating it. Early prostate tumors confined to the prostate […]

Risks of active surveillance for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancers

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men diagnosed with slow-growing prostate tumors that likely won’t be harmful during their lifetimes can often avoid immediate treatment. Instead, they can have their tumor monitored using a strategy called active surveillance. With this approach, doctors perform periodic checks for tumor progression and start treatment only if the cancer begins to metastasize, or spread. Active […]

Active surveillance is safe for low-risk prostate cancers

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A new study confirms that active surveillance is a safe and reasonable alternative to immediate treatment for prostate cancer. In recently published study that followed 1,300 men, the prostate cancer survival rate after 10-15 years of active surveillance, was 99%. For some men, a strong discomfort with “living with cancer” may steer them away from postponing treatment in favor of careful monitoring.

Following low-risk prostate cancers before starting treatment becoming more common

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Treatment decisions are complicated for men with low-risk prostate cancer that grows slowly. These cancers may never become deadly during a man’s expected lifespan. And there is no conclusive evidence showing that treatment in these cases extends survival. So cancer specialists have been leaning toward monitoring low-risk prostate cancer carefully and starting treatment only when it begins to spread. This approach was once used only in academic cancer centers, but new research suggests that this strategy is becoming more common in urology practices throughout the United States and other countries as well.

Heart-healthy diet boosts survival in men with low-risk prostate cancer

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

Can a healthy diet help men with low-risk prostate cancer live longer? The authors of a new study say “yes.” A long-running Physicians’ Health Study, suggests that a diet that is good for the heart, brain, and other parts of the body may also help keep low-risk prostate cancer at bay. On the flip side, a diet rich in red meat and high-fat dairy foods appears to be hazardous for men with this kind of cancer. It isn’t clear why a diet that protects against heart disease would also protect against death from prostate cancer. Dr. Chavarro speculates that it’s because high-fat foods are easily broken down and absorbed by the digestive system, and so they might provide quick energy sources for growing tumors. Nevertheless, the results suggest that by eating healthily, men with prostate cancer can take a proactive step towards living a long life.

How to monitor prostate cancer using active surveillance

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

A woman’s testosterone-based vaginal cream linked to elevated testosterone in her husband

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A woman’s use of a testosterone-based vaginal cream may have contributed to a spike in her husband’s prostate-specific antigen and testosterone levels after he had his prostate removed to fight advanced prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer in second- and third-degree relatives elevates risk

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men are at greater risk for developing prostate cancer if their fathers or brothers also developed the disease. A new study shows that having second- or third-degree relatives with the disease also increases a man’s risk.