Dr. Marc Garnick, Editor in Chief
Is PSA reliable?
That's a good question, because having an elevated PSA doesn't necessarily mean that a man has prostate cancer.
One couple's story: Handling prostate cancer in the face of differing biopsies
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. Read more »
Charlie Schmidt Decades of research show that yoga can reduce the emotional and physical fatigue brought on by cancer treatment. Now researchers have shown for the first time that’s also true specifically for men being treated for prostate cancer. Men who took a yoga class twice a week during treatment reported less fatigue, fewer sexual […]Read more »
Charlie Schmidt In 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) took the unprecedented step of recommending against prostate cancer screening for all men, regardless of age, race, or family history. Now this influential group of independent experts is reassessing its position based on more recent data. Instead of discouraging screening altogether, the UPSTF is […]Read more »
Combining surgery, radiation, and hormonal therapy dramatically extends survival in men with advanced prostate cancer
Charlie Schmidt In April, scientists reported encouraging results from a pilot study of men with metastatic prostate cancer, or cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland. Long considered incurable, these advanced cancers are usually treated by giving men systemic drugs that target new tumors forming in the body. The scientists who led this new […]Read more »
High-grade cancer that’s still confined to the prostate is generally treated surgically. But a third of the men who have their cancerous prostates removed will experience a rise in blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This is called PSA recurrence. And since detectable PSA could signal the cancer’s return, doctors will often treat it by […]Read more »
Men who have high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their blood face troubling uncertainties. While it’s true that prostate cancer can elevate PSA, so can other conditions, including the benign prostate enlargement that afflicts many men as they get older. PSA levels also vary normally from one man to the next, and some men […]Read more »
Following surgery to remove a cancerous prostate gland, some men experience a biochemical recurrence, meaning that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has become detectable in their blood. Since only the prostate releases PSA, removing the gland should drop this protein to undetectable levels in the body. Detecting PSA could signify that prostate cancer cells are lingering, and […]Read more »
Charles Schmidt A pair of new studies provides useful information to men facing challenging decisions about what to do after being diagnosed with early prostate cancer. Researchers tracked men for 10 years and found that virtually none died of the illness, even if they decided against treating it. Early prostate tumors confined to the prostate […]Read more »
New research has shaken up a time-honored strategy for treating advanced prostate cancer that’s begun to metastasize, or spread. Doctors ordinarily treat these cases with systemic therapies designed to kill off metastatic tumors appearing throughout the body. But they don’t use local therapy to treat the primary tumor in the prostate. That’s because the primary tumor — unlike the metastases that it spawns — is rarely lethal. So doctors have been reluctant to give local therapy, such as radiation to the prostate or surgery to remove the organ, if it’s not going to improve the odds of survival. Now investigators are turning that assumption on its head. According to their findings, men who received local therapy while being treated for metastatic prostate cancer lived longer than those who didn’t, “and that makes a case for being more aggressive in how we manage patients who present with metastatic disease,” said Dr. Chad Rusthoven, a radiation oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, and the study’s first author.Read more »
Suspicious findings from prostate cancer screening are often followed by a procedure most men would prefer to avoid: a prostate biopsy. But what if biopsies actually could be avoided on the basis of non-invasive test results? Screening tests are moving in that direction, with some intriguing results. One of them, the Prostate Health Index blood test, combines measures of three forms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) into a score that helps doctors predict if a cancer is likely to progress, with an aim to circumvent biopsies that aren’t necessary.Read more »
Men diagnosed with slow-growing prostate tumors that likely won’t be harmful during their lifetimes can often avoid immediate treatment. Instead, they can have their tumor monitored using a strategy called active surveillance. With this approach, doctors perform periodic checks for tumor progression and start treatment only if the cancer begins to metastasize, or spread. Active […]Read more »