Most men can hold off on radiation after prostate cancer surgery

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Decisions about follow-up care after prostate cancer surgery sometimes involve a basic choice. If the cancer had features that predict it could return, doctors will likely recommend radiation therapy. But when should a man get that treatment? Should he get the radiation right away, even if there’s no evidence of cancer in the body (this […]

Darolutamide approved for nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Sometimes after finishing prostate cancer treatment, men get an unwelcome surprise: their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels creep higher, suggesting tumors too small to be seen lurk somewhere in the body. This leads to several options. Doctors can continue to monitor a man’s condition with imaging scans. Or, given the anxiety associated with rising PSA, they […]

Common hormonal treatments linked to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death in men being treated for prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Treatments for advanced prostate cancer that suppress testosterone, a hormone (also called an androgen) that drives the malignant cells to grow and spread, are collectively referred to as androgen deprivation therapies, or ADT. These therapies can significantly extend lifespans in men who have the disease, but they also have a range of challenging side effects. […]

Popular drugs used for treating enlarged prostates associated with high-grade prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

If a man has an enlarged prostate, there’s a good chance he’ll be treated with a type of drug called a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI). These drugs shrink the gland to improve urinary flow, and the approved forms used for treating enlarged prostates come in two varieties: Proscar (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride). However, a side […]

From Brexit to TRexit: Transperineal biopsies pose a challenge to the traditional transrectal biopsy method

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

By now most of us are familiar with Brexit, the UK’s pending divorce with the European Union. But in a play on that term, British doctors are also moving towards an exit they’ve dubbed “TRexit” from the most common sort of prostate biopsy: the transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy, or TRUS. Men who test positive on […]

Can a man with abnormal PSA and a negative diagnostic MRI avoid a prostate biopsy? It’s debatable

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Not long ago, an abnormal PSA reading would be followed right away by a standard biopsy to search for potential cancer in the prostate. During such a procedure, doctors take 10 to 12 samples of the prostate from various locations while looking at the gland with an ultrasound machine. These days, however, men with high […]

Highly accurate test reveals recurring prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

After being treated for prostate cancer, some men will experience a rise in PSA levels suggesting that new tumors lurk somewhere in the body. Finding these tiny cancerous deposits before they grow and spread any further is crucially important. But it’s also a challenge, since the budding tumors might be too small to see with […]

African American men respond better to treatments for advanced prostate cancer in clinical trials

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Racial differences have long been evident in prostate cancer statistics. In particular, African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer more often than white men, and they’re also nearly twice as likely to die of the disease. But new research also shows that African American men who receive the most advanced treatments for late-stage prostate […]

Diet and exercise limit heart disease risk in men undergoing hormonal treatments for advanced prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men with advanced prostate cancer are typically treated with drugs that prevent the body from making or using testosterone. A hormone (or an androgen, as it’s known), testosterone drives prostate cancer cells to grow faster, so shutting it down is essential to keeping the illness in check. About 600,000 men with advanced prostate cancer in […]

Hormonal therapy for aggressive prostate cancer: How long is enough?

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men weighing treatment options for intermediate- or high-risk cancer that is still localized to the prostate can face a tricky question. A standard approach in these cases is to give radiation to the prostate along with drugs that block testosterone, a hormone that makes the cancer cells grow faster. For how long should this hormone […]