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Prostate Cancer Archive

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MRI looking better for detecting prostate cancer

Updated June 1, 2021
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to screen for prostate cancer can identify higher-grade cancers just as well as a standard biopsy, and may help some men with high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) numbers avoid biopsies.

American Heart Association issues statement on cardiovascular side effects from hormonal therapy for prostate cancer

Published May 18, 2021
The American Heart Association issued a statement addressing cardiovascular risks from hormonal therapy for prostate cancer, emphasizing the need to identify men with pre-existing cardiac risk factors or a family history of cardiovascular diseases who should be monitored closely during treatment.

New ways to test for prostate cancer

Updated March 1, 2021

Recent advances can help men with a worrisome PSA result avoid immediate biopsy.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood testing receives high marks as an effective way to monitor disease activity in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Yet, as a screening tool for prostate cancer, PSA testing is problematic.

PSA naturally tends to increase as men get older, but levels that get too high may suggest prostate cancer. A PSA level of less than 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is often reassuring, unless there has been a sudden jump from a much lower number. Many doctors consider a total PSA level higher than 10 ng/mL as the threshold for getting a biopsy to check for cancer.

Predicting low-risk prostate cancer

Updated January 1, 2021

New calculators can estimate the chance your cancer might — or might not — become more aggressive.

Active surveillance is a popular option for men with low-risk prostate cancer, defined as a tumor that is confined to the prostate gland and unlikely to grow or spread. It involves monitoring prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the blood for changes and having regular digital rectal exams to look for abnormal areas on your prostate.

During active surveillance, you have a PSA test and a digital rectal exam every six months and prostate biopsies approximately every other year. If your PSA level rises, your doctor will likely recommend a prostate MRI or an immediate prostate biopsy to see if the cancer has become more aggressive. If so, you and your doctor can decide whether to continue with active surveillance and have another biopsy six months or a year later, or move ahead to treatment, such as radiation, hormonal therapy, or surgery.

Radiation after prostate cancer surgery may not be necessary

Updated January 1, 2021

In the journals

Many men with prostate cancer who have a radical prostatectomy (prostate removal) receive radiation therapy afterward to wipe out any residual cancer cells. Alternatively, men can choose to delay radiotherapy and be monitored for evidence of prostate cancer activity, such as a rising blood level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). If PSA testing or an imaging test like an MRI shows cancer, these men can then consider radiation therapy.

According to the findings of an analysis published online Sept. 28, 2020, by The Lancet, there is no clear benefit of immediate radiation over monitoring with later radiation therapy as necessary. Since some men will never need radiotherapy, this means that by forgoing immediate treatment, they can avoid potential side effects like incontinence and bowel problems.

Hormone therapy and radiation may help with certain prostate cancer

Updated December 1, 2020

In the journals

Men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer may benefit from undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) depending on how far the cancer has progressed, says a study published online Sept. 9, 2020, by JAMA Network Open. The results could help men better weigh risk versus reward when choosing their prostate cancer treatment options.

The study looked at men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. This is the mid-range of prostate cancer in terms of aggressiveness between low-risk (which often doesn't need treatment) and high-risk cancer. There are two categories of intermediate-risk cancer: favorable intermediate-risk (FIR) and the more advanced unfavorable intermediate-risk (UIR).

Combining two types of biopsies helps diagnose prostate cancer

Updated July 1, 2020

In the journals

Combining two kinds of biopsies may lead to a more accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer, suggests a study in the March 5, 2020, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute enrolled 2,103 men with prostate abnormalities. Each man had a standard 12-point biopsy and an MRI-targeted biopsy.

With a 12-point biopsy, tissue samples are taken from 12 systematically placed spots on the prostate. An MRI-targeted biopsy uses an MRI image of the prostate to help doctors locate areas where cancer is most highly suspected. Previous research has shown that MRI-targeted biopsies are more accurate than 12-point biopsies. However, even MRIs can miss some tumors.

The facts about testosterone and sex

Updated June 1, 2020

Can boosting testosterone levels improve your sex life?

The hormone testosterone plays a big part in men's health, but perhaps its most meaningful role is to fuel sex drive and performance.

Testosterone levels tend to decrease with age. They peak by early adulthood and then can drop by up to 1% per year beginning around age 40. Sometimes an abrupt fall occurs because of an injury or illness (such as an infection), chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or certain medications.

Can vitamin and mineral supplements protect against prostate cancer?

Updated May 1, 2020

On call

Q. Can specific types of supplements help reduce my risk of developing prostate cancer?

A. Most studies of vitamin and mineral supplements have had disappointing results. In fact, some even appear to increase prostate cancer risk. Here's a rundown on where everything stands.

Exercise can reduce the side effects of prostate cancer treatments

Updated April 1, 2020

In the journals

Men who choose androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for their advanced prostate cancer can avoid possible side effects with short-term exercise, suggests a study published in January 2020 in BJU International.

Common side effects of ADT include weight gain, loss of muscle mass, lower cardio fitness, fatigue, and a drop in quality of life. These often occur within three months after treatment begins. In the study, researchers recruited 50 men with prostate cancer who began ADT. Half did two supervised exercise sessions per week for three months. The hourlong workouts included both aerobic and resistance exercises. The group then continued the workouts on their own for another three months.

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