Recent Blog Articles

Harvard Health Blog

Read the latest posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.


PSA — Old controversies, new results

Published November 22, 2009

Many experts believe prostate cancer is the exception to the rule when it comes to screening. In fact, PSA screening may actually do more harm than good. Two studies, one conducted in the U.S. and the other in Europe, were hopefully going to settle the debate over the value of the PSA. While they gave us some answers, we are still a long way from settling the debate.

Moving beyond PSA

Published November 19, 2009

Genetic biomarkers may help doctors decide whether to perform a biopsy, determine the best treatment, and develop new targeted therapies for prostate cancer.

Using PSA to determine prognosis

Published November 17, 2009

Renowned radiation oncologist and researcher Anthony D’Amico, M.D., Ph.D. discusses his PSA research and its implications for prostate cancer treatment.

One couple’s story: Handling prostate cancer in the face of differing biopsies

Published November 10, 2009

Elliot and Elizabeth Boyd share their experience with a prostate cancer diagnosis, explain their next steps in light of seemingly contradictory test results, and offer advice to those coping with their diagnosis and weighing treatment options.

Raising prostate cancer awareness among African Americans: Two patients’ stories

Published November 10, 2009

Two prostate cancer survivors talk about the importance of prostate cancer education among African Americans and other men at high risk.

Androgen-independent prostate cancer: A patient’s story

Published November 10, 2009

Ken Gannon talks about his 13 year battle with prostate cancer and his experiences with second-line hormone therapies, investigational drugs, and four clinical trials, one of which nearly killed him.

A patient’s story: Why one man opted for lifestyle changes instead of treatment

Published November 10, 2009

Patient Ben Hunter explains why he decided to postpone treatment for prostate cancer and the lifestyle changes he made immediately following his diagnosis.

Choosing — and sticking with — active surveillance: A patient’s story

Published November 9, 2009

Patient Jeffrey Caruso explains why he decided to pursue active surveillance and under what circumstances he would opt to treat his prostate cancer.

Technology and decision-making: A patient’s story

Published November 9, 2009

How endorectal MRI helped one couple choose the “best” treatment for prostate cancer.

A patient’s story: Why one man chose robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy

Published November 8, 2009

After talking with numerous medical professionals and asking friends about how they treated their prostate cancers, financial services executive Steve Henley opted to have a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. In this interview, he explains what factors went into that decision.

Drug combo better at easing BPH than either drug alone

Published November 3, 2009

Study shows that taking both dutasteride (Avodart) and tamsulosin (Flomax) might be more effective at easing symptoms than taking just one.

Continuous vs. intermittent hormone therapy (IHT): No survival difference

Published November 3, 2009

Given the beneficial effects and the lack of a survival difference, intermittent hormone therapy may be a preferred regimen for men with advanced prostate cancer.

Use caution with selenium supplements

Published November 3, 2009

High levels of selenium in the blood are associated with a slightly higher-than-normal risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy: How long should it last?

Published November 3, 2009

A European study finds that mortality is higher among men who pursue hormone therapy for just six months. But the study was conducted in men with relatively large tumors, not small, early-stage tumors, the kind found most often in American men.

Midlife PSA tests may predict prostate cancer diagnosis up to 25 years later

Published November 3, 2009

According to a 2007 Swedish study, a PSA test done between the ages of 44 and 50 may predict whether or not a man will develop prostate cancer later in life.

Initial PSA tests can’t distinguish lethal prostate cancers

Published November 3, 2009

In a study of over 250 men, Swedish researchers found that neither the initial PSA level nor its rate of increase in a two-year period predicted which men had lethal versus indolent cancers.

PSA screening: What doctors tell their patients

Published November 3, 2009

Fifteen Harvard-affiliated physicians discuss their recommendations for PSA screening.

Task force says no to PSA screening for older men

Published November 3, 2009

The U.S. Preventive Services task force announced in 2008 that doctors should stop testing men who are 75 or older. The panel also concluded that the benefit of screening in younger men is uncertain.

What does a fluctuating PSA mean?

Published November 3, 2009

If your PSA has varied greatly and biopsies have been negative, you might want to try a different testing regimen.

Can nerve grafts restore erectile function?

Published November 3, 2009

Studies have shown that some men who have their neurovascular bundles removed during a radical prostatectomy may regain erectile function with nerve grafts. But a patient’s best bet for preserving erectile function is to find an experienced surgeon.

Treating prostatitis: Any cause for optimism?

Published November 3, 2009

Standard treatments for prostatitis, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and alpha blockers, are often ineffective. Patients might find relief by using drugs currently in clinical trials or nontraditional therapies such as biofeedback and myofascial trigger release, a form of massage.

Prostate cancer risk in African Americans

Published November 3, 2009

African American men have, by far, the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. They are also more than twice as likely to die of the disease as white American men. No single factor — diet, obesity, socioeconomic status, or biology — accounts for the disparity, and the search for an explanation continues.

Blood calcium levels may be linked to prostate cancer death

Published October 23, 2009

Research finds that men with high blood calcium levels are more likely to develop fatal prostate cancer than men with lower blood calcium levels.

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