Treatments

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 […]

Study investigates treatment regret among prostate cancer survivors

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charles Schmidt As they get older, do men with prostate cancer come to regret the treatment decisions they made? A new study of men diagnosed during the mid-1990s indicates that some of them will. Richard Hoffman, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, […]

Combination hormonal therapy boosts survival in men with aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charlie Schmidt A standard approach for treating aggressive prostate cancer is to give therapies that block testosterone, a tumor-stimulating hormone. Should initial hormonal therapies fail, doctors can switch to other drugs that suppress testosterone in different ways. One of them, a drug called abiraterone, has been shown to significantly extend lifespans in men who have […]

Yoga improves treatment-related symptoms in men with prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charlie Schmidt Decades of research show that yoga can reduce the emotional and physical fatigue brought on by cancer treatment. Now researchers have shown for the first time that’s also true specifically for men being treated for prostate cancer. Men who took a yoga class twice a week during treatment reported less fatigue, fewer sexual […]

Combining surgery, radiation, and hormonal therapy dramatically extends survival in men with advanced prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charlie Schmidt In April, scientists reported encouraging results from a pilot study of men with metastatic prostate cancer, or cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland. Long considered incurable, these advanced cancers are usually treated by giving men systemic drugs that target new tumors forming in the body. The scientists who led this new […]

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

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

High-grade cancer that’s still confined to the prostate is generally treated surgically. But a third of the men who have their cancerous prostates removed will experience a rise in blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This is called PSA recurrence. And since detectable PSA could signal the cancer’s return, doctors will often treat it by […]

New study recommends immediate radiation when PSA Levels spike after prostate cancer surgery

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Following surgery to remove a cancerous prostate gland, some men experience a biochemical recurrence, meaning that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has become detectable in their blood. Since only the prostate releases PSA, removing the gland should drop this protein to undetectable levels in the body. Detecting PSA could signify that prostate cancer cells are lingering, and […]

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 […]

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

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

New research has shaken up a time-honored strategy for treating advanced prostate cancer that’s begun to metastasize, or spread. Doctors ordinarily treat these cases with systemic therapies designed to kill off metastatic tumors appearing throughout the body. But they don’t use local therapy to treat the primary tumor in the prostate. That’s because the primary tumor — unlike the metastases that it spawns — is rarely lethal. So doctors have been reluctant to give local therapy, such as radiation to the prostate or surgery to remove the organ, if it’s not going to improve the odds of survival. Now investigators are turning that assumption on its head. According to their findings, men who received local therapy while being treated for metastatic prostate cancer lived longer than those who didn’t, “and that makes a case for being more aggressive in how we manage patients who present with metastatic disease,” said Dr. Chad Rusthoven, a radiation oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, and the study’s first author.

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 […]