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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.


No “home run” for proton radiation–at least not yet

Published October 23, 2009

A clinical trial of proton radiation for early prostate cancer found that the treatment is safe and well-tolerated by patients, but probably no better than other, less expensive forms of radiation.

What is the difference between PSA and free PSA?

Published October 1, 2009

Kevin R. Loughlin, M.D., M.B.A., director of Urologic Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains how these tests differ.

Diabetes inversely related to prostate cancer risk

Published September 29, 2009

Two studies conclude that men with diabetes have a lower risk of prostate cancer than nondiabetics, suggesting a potential biological link between the conditions.

Second BPH drug reduces prostate cancer risk

Published September 29, 2009

Like finasteride (Proscar), dutasteride (Avodart), a drug used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Safety concerns prompt labeling change on testosterone gels

Published September 29, 2009

Manufacturers of testosterone gel products must add a boxed warning on the products about adverse effects.

Vitamin E-selenium-soy combo doesn’t prevent prostate cancer

Published September 29, 2009

Canadian researchers report in 2009 that these supplements offer no benefit in terms of prostate cancer prevention.

What is a “PSA bounce?”

Published September 29, 2009

I had brachytherapy to treat my prostate cancer and my PSA had dropped to 0.3 ng/ml. But six months ago, my PSA had gone up to 0.5, and now it’s up to 0.8 ng/ml. I’m worried that the cancer is back; my doctor said it could be a “PSA bounce.” What’s that?

Can a vasectomy increase prostate cancer risk?

Published September 29, 2009

Experts conclude that there is no association between vasectomy and prostate cancer risk.

What’s the downside to a biopsy?

Published September 29, 2009

Even if my father takes antibiotics beforehand, could he develop a serious infection when he has a prostate biopsy later this year? Are there other possible complications we should be on the lookout for?

How soon can I bike after a biopsy?

Published September 29, 2009

I am an avid bicyclist, and I am having a prostate biopsy in a few weeks. How long do I need to wait after the biopsy before I can start biking again?

What if I have prostate cancer and lymphoma?

Published September 29, 2009

There’s no one correct course of action. In general, experts recommend first treating whichever condition is worse.

Am I too old to have prostate surgery?

Published September 29, 2009

A radical prostatectomy is a major operation that can lead to serious complications. If a man is older than 75, his doctor may not want to operate on him.

Do I need to use condoms after prostate surgery?

Published September 29, 2009

Yes. Even if a man doesn’t ejaculate, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can still be passed from one partner to another during sexual activity.

Experimental therapies for prostate cancer

Published September 29, 2009

Androgen deprivation, whether through surgical removal of the testicles or with medication, is an effective treatment for recurring prostate cancer — at least for a while. An improved understanding of the biology of prostate cancer has led to the development of two drugs that might slow disease progression in prostate cancer patients whose disease no longer responds to androgen deprivation.

Stress and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Published September 29, 2009

Some evidence suggests that stress reduction may ease symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Can radiation therapy combat a rising PSA after surgery?

Published September 29, 2009

I had a radical prostatectomy a year ago and thought I was cured. But now my PSA is rising rapidly, a sign that the cancer is back. Might radiation therapy help?

Can hormone therapy cause muscle loss?

Published September 29, 2009

I am currently undergoing hormone therapy with leuprolide (Lupron) injections to shrink an enlarged prostate. I believe I’ve noticed some muscle loss. Is this possible?

Botox for BPH?

Published September 29, 2009

It may sound like a promising approach, but there’s a lot we don’t know about using Botox to treat an enlarged prostate.

Pomegranate juice may slow prostate cancer progression

Published September 29, 2009

Drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a day may slow disease progression, as measured by PSA.

Avoiding complications of anti-androgens: A patient’s story

Published June 19, 2009

Sixty-five-year-old George Lincoln* never suspected that anything was wrong. Aside from some of the typical side effects of hormone therapy for his prostate cancer, such as fatigue, occasional hot flashes, mild weight gain, and a loss of libido, he felt okay. He didn’t have abdominal pain, nausea, jaundice, or any other symptoms that might indicate a potentially life-threatening problem.

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