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Harvard Health Blog

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

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Breast cancer genes pose threat to prostate health, too

Published April 3, 2009

Research shows that men who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men without the genes.

Gene combination raises prostate cancer risk

Published April 3, 2009

A Swedish study finds that the combination of five genetic variations increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Urine test accurately diagnoses prostate cancer

Published April 3, 2009

Researchers report that an experimental urine test can better distinguish between prostate cancer and benign conditions than both PSA and PCA3 testing.

Testosterone supplements of little benefit in older men

Published April 3, 2009

Research has shown that testosterone levels decline as men age. In theory, taking testosterone supplements should counter that natural process. But a Dutch study concluded that they few benefits.

Focal therapy for prostate cancer?

Published April 3, 2009

Two teams of researchers suggest that focal therapy may be a promising treatment option for men with cancer confined to the prostate. However, more research is needed to determine its long-term effectiveness.

Calcium and prostate cancer risk

Published April 3, 2009

Physicians and researchers have long believed that consuming high amounts of calcium and dairy products increases the risk of prostate cancer, although study results have been inconsistent. Two recent studies make clear that the jury is still out.

Obesity may affect PSA levels, delay cancer diagnosis

Published April 3, 2009

Obese men tend to have lower PSA concentrations than men with healthier weights. As a result, fewer obese men undergo biopsies, potentially leaving prostate cancer undetected.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer puts heart at risk

Published April 3, 2009

A study by Boston researchers found that hormone therapy may increase risk of death from heart disease, especially among patients who have had prostate surgery.

Lycopene and tomatoes: No shield against prostate cancer

Published April 3, 2009

Studies reveal that lycopene, a nutrient found in tomatoes, does not seem to reduce prostate cancer risk.

Are BPH and LUTS “inexorable consequences of aging”?

Published April 3, 2009

Historically, the answer has been yes, but mounting evidence suggests that lifestyle factors may influence risk.

How to tell when localized cancer is advancing

Published April 3, 2009

A British study finds that repeat biopsies may play an important role in active surveillance for untreated, localized prostate cancer.

Anxiety drives some treatment decisions

Published April 3, 2009

Anxiety, not clinical symptoms and disease progression, may sway patients toward treatment.

Biomarker predicts the development of hormone refractory disease

Published April 3, 2009

Blood and tissue levels of chromogranin A (CgA) may be early indication that prostate cancer that won’t respond for long to hormone therapy.

BPH drug cleared of causing aggressive tumors

Published April 3, 2009

Study finds that finasteride may actually lower the overall risk of prostate cancer and aid in the detection of aggressive tumors. An earlier study had implicated finasteride in the development of these deadlier tumors.

Erectile dysfunction drug also may ease BPH symptoms

Published April 3, 2009

More research is needed, but taking tadalafil (Cialis) could be helpful for men with BPH.

Common genetic variations increase prostate cancer risk

Published April 3, 2009

Researchers have identified several genetic variations that raise prostate cancer risk, variations that may also account for the higher incidence of prostate cancer in African Americans.

Possible new blood test for prostate cancer

Published April 3, 2009

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed a new blood test for prostate cancer, which in a preliminary study proved better than the PSA test at identifying which men have cancer. The new test measures levels of the protein EPCA-2, which — unlike PSA — is produced almost exclusively by cancerous tissue.

Do all BPH drugs reduce semen production?

Published April 2, 2009

I have used finasteride (Proscar) to treat my BPH, and it has reduced the size of my prostate. However, my body’s production of semen has diminished, too. Will switching to dutasteride (Avodart) solve that problem?

Searching PubMed in five easy steps

Published April 2, 2009

Searching PubMed in five easy steps

You can find and read the studies that are referenced on this Web site by searching PubMed, a resource of the National Library of Medicine. The abstracts (short summaries) of the studies are available for free, but in most cases you will have to pay to obtain the full report.

Here’s how to access an abstract:

  1. Open up your browser’s window while connected to the Internet. Type www.pubmed.gov and hit return.

Is there a connection between Flomax and cataracts?

Published April 2, 2009

In short, yes. If you take Flomax (tamsulosin), be sure to tell your eye doctor before having cataract surgery.

Harvard experts discuss surgical options for benign prostatic hyperplasia

Published March 31, 2009

Three doctors describe some surgical options for treating an enlarged prostate, including the ones they think patients prefer.

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