Harvard Health Blog

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


Erectile dysfunction and heart disease: What’s the connection?

Even if your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, beware: problems getting or keeping an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse may signal trouble, especially cardiovascular disease, down the road.

Harvard experts discuss benign prostatic hyperplasia drug treatments

Three Harvard doctors talk about who needs to be treated for BPH, what medications should be prescribed, and what side effects you need to be aware of.

Your benign prostatic hyperplasia medication: When to consider a change

A look at treatment options and trade-offs

If you are like many of the 14 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), you’ve probably been taking the same medication, at the same dose, for years. If so, consider the experiences of two patients, both of whom were taking some type of medication for BPH. Their names have been changed, but all other details are accurate (see “Jack Muriel” and “Henry Banks”).

Treating erectile dysfunction with penile implants

Penile implants, an option patients with erectile dysfunction probably hear little about, might offer a lasting and satisfying “cure.” Abraham Morgentaler, M.D., director of Men’s Health Boston, explains how.

Strength training exercises

Regular physical activity can help keep you — and your prostate — healthy

By now, we’ve all heard about the value of exercise in maintaining good health. Literally hundreds of studies conducted over more than half a century demonstrate that regular exercise pares down your risk of developing some deadly problems, including heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer (colorectal cancer, for example). It also eases the toll of chronic ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis.

Eating for prostate health (Part 1 of 2)

Two registered dietitians from Harvard-affiliated hospitals tout the benefits of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

“What can I eat to reduce my risk of developing prostate cancer?” That’s one of the most common questions physicians hear from men concerned about prostate health. Undoubtedly, many hope to hear their doctor rattle off a few foods guaranteed to shield them from disease. Although some foods have been linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer, the proof is lacking, at least for now.

Outcomes research in prostate disease

When it comes to prostate cancer and other prostate diseases, how accurate are the statistics we hear? Can patients rely on reported figures to determine their risk of suffering complications such as incontinence and impotence? Why do data vary from one organization to another? Three experts discuss these questions and the growing field of outcomes research.

Maintaining physical and emotional health during prostate cancer treatment: A patient’s story

Mr. Williams, a successful business owner in his mid-60s, describes how he was able to maintain his sex life and other aspects of his physical emotional well-being during and after treatment for prostate cancer.

A patient’s story: Overcoming incontinence

How one man persisted for almost two years in an effort to remedy one of the most bothersome possible side effects of prostate cancer treatment, and what men facing therapeutic decisions can learn from his experience.

Androgen-independent prostate cancer

When cancer advances despite primary hormone therapy

We often hear the term prostate cancer and assume it is one disease. Practically speaking, it is. On a molecular level, however, scientists are revealing a far more complex picture. Cancer has an innate ability to adapt to its surroundings. As it progresses, cancer cells tend to change, morphing to a point where the differences between tumor cells can be dramatic. That’s why some researchers believe late-stage prostate cancer is more accurately described as a mix of cancer cell types.

Answering key clinical questions

An interview with renowned urology researcher E. David Crawford, M.D., about the state of clinical trials on prostate health

Can hormone therapy extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer? Might a drug traditionally prescribed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) help prevent prostate cancer? Does a short course of hormone therapy prior to a radical prostatectomy prevent or delay cancer’s return?

Promising technologies for the treatment of prostate cancer

Marc B. Garnick, M.D., provides an overview of possible treatments that need more study, including cryotherapy, HIFU, and focal therapies.

How to handle a relapse after treatment for prostate cancer

Marc B. Garnick, M.D., discusses what biochemical recurrence means and what your options are.

Possible complications of hormone therapy

Three Harvard-affiliated physicians discuss the impact that hormone therapy can have on bones and cardiovascular health.

Intermittent hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Marc B. Garnick, M.D., discusses this therapy, which aims to strike a balance between effective treatment and quality of life.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Marc Garnick, M.D., Editor in Chief of the Annual Report on Prostate Diseases, discusses what you need to know about therapy: when it’s used, what your options are, and what doctors disagree about.

When to consider active surveillance

Which men are candidates for active surveillance? Some studies suggest that men with low risk cancer should consider active surveillance over traditional treatment, but the evidence is mixed.

Early-stage prostate cancer: Treat or wait?

When it comes to early-stage prostate cancer, there is no evidence that one treatment is better than another or that any treatment at all actually prolongs life. If you are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, you’ll want to consider factors such as your values, your quality of life, and the potential side effects of various treatments before making a decision.

Getting a closer look at prostate cancer with molecular imaging

Molecular imaging may help determine the location and extent of cancer — and point to the best treatment — especially metastatic cancers too small to be detected by CT or MRI scanning.

Understanding your prostate pathology report

Not all pathology reports are created equal. In fact, they can vary widely even within a single institution. Learn what your report should contain, what it means, and why asking questions about it can lead to better care.

Improved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may aid detection of prostate cancer

Dr. Neil Rofsky, of Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discusses MRI technology, which patients might benefit from it, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of MRI as compared with other imaging modalities.

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