Menstuff® has compiled information on Prostate Health. See our complete listing of Health Issues (emotional, physical, psychological, sexual and additions) and related information on a Testicular Self Exam. Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is September, and Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, the period set aside for free screenings, runs September 16-22, 2013. Information about the Prostate will change daily during this period at "Today" at our homepage. Newsbytes features the latest prostate cancer news, updated weekly. Information can also be found on our web site at www.pcaw.org
The Department of Defense cut $5 million from a crucial prostate cancer research program they manage. U.S. Senator Ted Stevens is the chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee which ultimately decides what programs at the DOD get funding. The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for prostate cancer at the DOD works to expedite laboratory research into new drugs. Ask him to restore $5 million that was cut. His Washington DC office hone is 202-224-3004.
Prostate Screening Changes
Did you know that a man is 33% more likely to get prostate
than a woman is to get breast cancer? It's true.
A husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, friend dies every 17 minutes of every day from Prostate Cancer
Are you a male 40-75
or over 35 and African American
or your father or brother had Prostate Cancer?
Get tested! PSA and DRE*
Someone you know may be affected.
One in every six men will get prostate cancer.
35% will be under the age of 65.
There will be over 2.8 million cases of prostate disease reported in 2012.
For over 217,730 men, it will be prostate cancer.
Over 32,050 will die because
they didn't get an examination or didn't act soon enough.
Don't let it be said, "He was too afraid or embarrassed to get tested."
We cannot rest until we win the battle against Prostate Cancer.
the Risk Factor Test
Four Important Things to Remember before Getting Tested
1. Be sure that you're rested.
2. No sexual activity for 72 hours before the test.
3. Got a cold? Put it on hold.
4. Either have your PSA blood test before the DRE or delay taking a blood test for 48 hours AFTER you have had your DRE test.
* If you get a reading between
zero and 1, get tested again in five years.
If the reading is between 1 and 2, get tested again in two years.
If the reading is between 2-4, get tested every year.
If the reading is over 2.5, consider additional tests like PSA free, AMAS, ultrasound, color doplar, x-rays, and more blood tests, then, maybe a biopsy. And, take this health opportunity to learn every thing you can about prostate cancer! Call the PCA Coalition hotline with questions about prostate cancer: 888-245-9455
Health Men 2012 Calendar
Take the Risk Factor Test
Locate a Free or Low Cost Screening Site
Best Reason to Fight for More Research
Newsbytes - Recent stories in the press
About Prostate Cancer - Did You Know?
Glossary of Prostate Cancer Related Terms
Glossary of Prostate Cancer Related Terms - 2
The Prostate - The Short Version:
The Prostate - The Long Version:
Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy)
Prostate Cancer Awareness Week Sep 17-23,
Screen Together - Live Together
Ideal Time to Get an Annual Exam!
Similarity to Breast Cancer
PSA Changes Over Time Flag Cancer
Government Eliminates Early Detection for Prostate Cancer, Fails American Men
Prostate screening changes spark controversy
Drive Against Prostate Cancer Free Testing Schedule - This month
Statins increase the risk of prostate cancer
Symptom & Remedy - Humor
Deaths Per Research Dollar Spent
Prostate Canceer Awareness Pin
Goodbye Prostate Cancer Awareness Stamp
Kaiser Permanente Recommends Against Prostate Screenings
The Prevalent View of ASCO, the American Cancer Society and many HMO's
Warning: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Lead to Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer?
Warning: Selenium may cause diabetes
The Danger in this View
Best Reason to Fight for More Research
10 Steps to a healthier life and reduced risk of most cancers
Viagra news coverage concerning discrimination in insurance payments
Genetic Test May Help Diagnose Prostae Cancer
Alternative Treatment and Complementary Medicine
Prostate Cancer Prevention
Prostate - Books, Links
Impotency - Books, Information, Links
Save the Males T-shirt
Health Men Calendar
About Prostate Cancer - Did You
annual testing (PSA and DRE) is recommended for all men 45+ years
old (and men at greater risk beginning at 35)
Prostate Cancer Deaths Up 17 Percent
Prostate cancer deaths are expected to jump 17 percent this year, according to estimates based on National Cancer Institute data.
The alarming 2010 statistics, released just prior to Fathers Day, has ZERO The Project to End Prostate Cancer urging families to encourage Dad to get tested for the disease this Father's Day because prostate cancer is the second leading cancer among Amercan men.
If prostate cancer is diagnosed before it spreads, a patient has a 99 percent survival rate for five years, ZERO Chief Operating Officer Jamie Bearse said.
You can only diagnose cancer early through annual testing. This is the sad result of the PSA controversy created by the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. We need a better biomarker for the disease to distinguish slow growing tumors from deadly ones but in the meantime, we need to keep testing.
The new numbers predict a 17 percent jump in deaths and a more than 13 percent rise in diagnosed cases this year as compared to 2009. It marks the greatest percentage increase since the mid-1990s.
# of men
Source: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
The American Cancer Society claims its the official sponsor of birthdays, but it is condemning more men to their funerals because of its stance against the PSA test, Bearse added.
Its not too late, however, and we can change these
predictions. Encourage your Dad to get tested and give him the gift
of life on this Fathers Day.
Prostate screening changes spark
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force gave a nearly failing grade for "prostate-specific-antigen" or PSA testing. It got a D. The group says getting the test causes more harm than good.
Less than a year ago, Garry Westcott of Alexandria, Virginia, didnt know how long he had left to live. A doctor discovered he had prostate cancer.
I had no symptoms. I had no indications that I had cancer other than the PSA test, said now-cancer survivor Westcott.
The 63 year-old got the routine blood test after a physical. When his PSA came back high, he had his prostate biopsied, then had the cancer cut out.
Had I not had the PSA test, my story and the list of procedures could be a whole different ball game, Westcott said.
For nearly two decades, the message has been the same: get a PSA test every year or two to detect prostate cancer early. Now, a federal advisory panel is recommending otherwise, saying the screening is unreliablegiving a false positive 80 percent of the time.
"Panic was the number one thing in my mind and the doctors said the only way to make sure you're done is to get it out, said Paul Nelson, Erectile Dysfunction Foundation President.
Paul Nelson, 51, had his prostate removed right away after his PSA came back high. But, in cases like Pauls, the side effects of surgery are sometimes worse than the disease.
"I actually think impotence and incontinence are some of the minor side effects. Some of them are actually going to have significant problems like pulmonary emboli, heart attacks," said Dr. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer.
Westcott says you can debate the pros and cons indefinitely, but, what it boils down to is education.
I think it needs to be explained to patients who get fearful right away that...doctors have to go through and explain...this does not necessarily mean you have cancer. It's an indicator that we're going by because frankly it's the best indicator we have now, Westcott said.
The American Cancer Society says it's going to work hard to find a screening test that actually worksbefore making it widely available to the public again.
Of course, everyone has to discuss this with their doctor and make a personal choice.
Doctor Lynch with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
issued a statement saying "it's a disservice to men to deny them the
opportunity for potential treatment and cure...when necessary... For
a disease that affects one in six over the course of their
PSA Changes Over Time Flag Cancer Risk
Despite the recent controversy over of the use of PSA tests the most commonly used screening method for prostate cancer today the new findings indicate they may play an important role in helping to accurately identify men who are more likely to be at risk of death from more lethal, fast-growing tumors.
"The use of a single, elevated PSA level to screen for prostate cancer is considered controversial given the questionable benefits of PSA screening on prostate cancer mortality," said lead researcher Lauren P. Wallner, a post-doctoral research fellow at Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research & Evaluation.
The screening may also result in unnecessary prostate biopsies and subsequent treatments for localized prostate cancer, as it does not distinguish well between slow-growing and aggressive disease. [But] our study demonstrates that repeated measurements of PSA over time could provide a more accurate and much needed detection strategy for aggressive forms of prostate cancer."
For the study, published in the British Journal of Urology International, Wallner and colleagues examined the electronic health records of nearly 220,000 men (ages 45 and older) who had at least one PSA measurement and no history of prostate cancer over a 10-year period.
The results showed that annual percent changes in PSA more accurately predicted the presence of aggressive prostate cancer, compared to single measurements of PSA alone, but only slightly improved the prediction of prostate cancer overall. Men in the study were found to experience a 2.9 percent change in PSA levels per year on average and that the rate of change in PSA increased modestly with age.
"The results of this study could provide clinicians with a better prostate cancer preventive strategy that could help differentiate between men with an aggressive form of the disease and those who have slow-growing, indolent cancer that may not necessarily merit treatment," said Wallner. "While we do not suggest that patients proactively seek out additional PSA measurements, men who already have had multiple PSAs may consider discussing the change in their PSA levels with their clinician when determining future treatment strategies."
The PSA test measures the level of an antigen, made by the prostate, in a man's blood. The higher the PSA level, the more likely a prostate problem is present. But many factors, such as age, race, and non-cancerous conditions can affect PSA levels.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against PSA screening for men who do not have symptoms. But many health experts recommend that men age 40 and older consult their doctors about the PSA test.
After non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common
cancer among American men. It is diagnosed in more than 215,000 men
annually; 28,000 die from the disease each year.
Prostate Health - The Short Version
While I'm not a doctor or an expert on this subject, I will attempt to explain the role of the prostate and how the prostate changes as a man ages. I will outline some prostate-related conditions and what steps you can take to help catch prostate disease early. I hope this will help you better understand prostate disease and its possible impact on the quality of your life.
What is the prostate and where is it located in the body? Only males have prostates. It is a gland located just below the bladder, the organ that stores urine. The prostate surrounds a part of the urethra, the tube through which urine flows.
What is the prostate`s function? As you probably know, the testicles produce sperm. But what most don`t know is that the prostate contributes to the fluid that helps to carry the sperm. This fluid, which is released during ejaculation, is also thought to supply nourishment for the sperm, to help make the vaginal canal less acidic, and to help increase the likelihood of conception.
Common prostate problems. I will discuss the three common, yet
very different, diseases of the prostate. Although they have
different treatments, they may cause many of the same symptoms.
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate, which may be caused by the presence of a bacterial infection. This condition affects 60% of all males from puberty on and can occur in any prostate regardless of size. Some of the symptoms of prostatitis are similar to those caused by an enlarged prostate. The most common symptoms include: pain or a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination (especially disturbing at night), a frequent sensation that you must urinate right away, impotence, burning with ejaculation or discolored semen. It can also be accompanied by chills and fever (in acute infections).
Treatment. It is sometimes difficult to cure and for some, it
becomes a chronic disease. It is primarily treated with antibiotics.
Other treatments involve the use of anti-inflammatory agents or
medicines that relax the prostate tissue. Dietary adjustments, heat,
vitamin and mineral supplements as well as treatment of chronic
constipation and coltities, can also bring relief. It will not lead
to sterility or cancer. In time it will respond to proper
Prostate enlargement is a non cancerous condition. In most men at age 45, the prostate begins to increase in size. It can continue to grow for the rest of a man's life. The activity of a key hormone helps to cause the prostate to start growing. It is not a cancer nor does it lead to cancer. However, a man can have prostate enlargement and cancer at the same time.
Symptoms include frequent urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, a weak or interrupted urine stream and difficulty starting urination.
If not tended to, as symptoms progress, they may experience differing social consequences. They stay close to a bathroom. They reserve seats on the aisle. They wear dark clothing to conceal leakage. They may nap frequently to make up for loss of sleep at night.
Treat usually happens in one of three ways: observation (to see if symptoms worsen), medication or surgery.
Prostate cancer is a serious disease because it is a malignant condition. Malignant tissue is present in the prostate and the malignancy can spread to other parts of the body. Although prostate cancer can occur in men of all ages, it affects one in every ten men but is most commonly found in men 40 and older. (Around 181,000 men will be diagnosed and 31,000 will die this year of prostate cancer (about the same number of women will die of breast cancer during the same time.)
In Dr. Bob Arnot's new book he says "Most men already have it (prostate cancer) by the time they hit middle age. He cites autopsies showing that 25 percent of men in their 30s and 40 percent of men in their 50s have signs of prostate cancer in its latent stage.
In its early stages, prostate cancer may not cause urinary symptoms. Therefore, routine rectal examinations and/or other tests are important in detecting cancer early. When caught early, prostate cancer has a 90% cure rate. If, however, it has spread beyond the prostate, it is much more difficult to treat. Once the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, there is no cure, only treatment of the disease. In its advanced stages - when cure is most difficult - prostate cancer may produce symptoms that are similar to an enlarged prostate: frequent urination, difficulty starting urination, incomplete emptying of bladder, blood or pus in urine, blood in semen, low back pain, interrupted urine stream, or a weak urine stream.
If you're over 50
What every man over 50 should do. Have a digital rectal exam as part of your annual checkup. (If you have a family history of prostate cancer, start these checkups at 40.) You may also want to take a PSA blood test and/or ultrasound. Openly discuss any changes in urinary habits or bothersome symptoms with your doctor. Early diagnosis of the most serious prostate disease - prostate cancer - increases your changes of a cure (90%).
There are side-effects. The most serious side-effects resulting from prostate surgery, are impotence and incontinence (loss of bladder control). Impotence may result if the nerves to the penis, which are very close to the urethra, need to be removed during surgery. Incontinence may result if the prostate is removed, because the bladder may then lose its ability to hold back urine.
Prostate treatment concerns - Most men now take an active role in
treatment decisions for prostate cancer. The factors they say are
very important include: slow the cancer, extend life, improve life
quality, limit side effects, relieve pain, maintain sexual function
and lower cost. Besides, it may save your life as well as your
What is the prostate?
Cancer of the prostate is the leading cause of cancer death among non-smoking American men and African-American men are 2 ½ times more likely to get the disease than any other ethnic group in the world. It is still unknown exactly why African-American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. Research has shown, though, that they typically develop the disease earlier than white Americans, but are diagnosed with it later, so their mortality rate is much higher than that of whites. One of every eight African-American men will develop the disease in his lifetime. It is primarily a disease of aging. Men in their thirties and forties rarely develop prostate cancer, but the incidence increases steadily after the age of fifty-five. Approximately 80 percent of all cases occur in men over the age of sixty-five and by the age of eighty, 80 percent of all men have prostate cancer to some degree. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 381,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 1998 and over 41,000 men will die of the disease. A male baby born today has a 13 percent change of developing prostate cancer at some time in his life, and a 3 percent change of dying from the disease. Many experts feel that every man will eventually develop prostate cancer if he lives long enough.
The three most common prostate problems are: infection (prostatitis), prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hupertrophy), and prostate cancer.
Currently, both the American Urological Association and the American Cancer Society recommend annual rectal exams as part of a mans annual health checkup for all men from ages 40 to 70, and beginning at age 40 for men at high risk (African-American men and those with a family history of the disease)and all men 50 and over add a PSA blood test every year as well. According to Dr. Crawford, these guidelines might need to be redefined. When prostate cancer is detected and treated in its early stages, it has a high cure rate. They encourage discussing the options with your medical care practioner.
Based on past screenings conducted during Prostate Cancer
Awareness Week, Dr. Crawford and his colleagues have observed that in
men ages 50 to 59, the prostate cancer detection rate was the same
regardless of whether they were screened every year or every two
years. For men between the ages of 60 and 70, thought, the prostate
cancer rate was higher if they only were screened every two years
versus annually. Therefore, it may only be necessary for normal-risk
men in their 50s to be screened every other year. Dr. Crawford also
suggests that high-risk men between the ages of 35 and 39 and
normal-risk men between the ages of 45 and 49 should get a baseline
PSA test. This recommendation is based on PCAW data revealing that
the majority of positive biopsies in high-risk men screened between
the ages of 40 and 49 were detected in their first year of screening.
Further studies indicated that 95 percent of all prostate cancers
among high-risk men were found in the first two years of a mans
screenings. "Because we have no cure for advanced prostate cancer,
early diagnosis and treatment are essential," Dr. Crawford said.
"Asymptomatic men can choose to know if they have
prostate cancer so that they can know to choose from
treatment alternatives that can cure their cancer." Because early
prostate cancer usually does not have any symptoms, it is extremely
difficult to detect without testing. In fact, screenings using both
PSA and DRE tests have proven to be the only reliable method of
identifying the disease when it can be cured most easily. Currently,
58 percent of all cases are discovered while the cancer is still
localized and at its most curable stage. You doctor can detect
prostate cancer by digital rectal examination (dont die from
embarrassment) and by a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood
Preventing Prostate Cancer
A low-fat diet that consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, and grains may help reduce your risk for prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting high-fat foods from animal sources. Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Healthy food choices also include bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and beans.
Substances in foods, especially fruits and vegetables, called antioxidants help prevent damage to the DNA in the body's cells. Such damage has been linked to disease, including cancer. Lycopenes, in particular, are antioxidants that have been linked to lower risk of prostate cancer. They are in foods such as tomatoes (raw or cooked), spinach, artichoke hearts, beans, berries (especially blueberries), pink grapefruit and oranges, and watermelons. Read more about antioxidant-rich vegetables and beans and fruits.
In some hospitals, clinical trials are underway to look at various "chemoprevention" protocols designed to lower the prostate cancer risk. So far, it's too soon to know if there are any new ways to prevent prostate cancer.
Using vitamin supplements may affect your risk of prostate cancer. Some studies show that taking vitamin E may lower your risk of prostate cancer whereas other studies show no effect on cancer risk. Taking selenium may also lower your risk. There is currently a large ongoing study to evaluate if either of these supplements can provide protection from prostate cancer.
Before taking any supplements it is advisable to first talk with your doctor. In some hospitals, clinical trials are underway to look at various "chemoprevention" protocols designed to lower the prostate cancer risk. So far, it's too soon to know if there are any new ways to prevent prostate cancer.
Studies of men taking the drug Proscar have shown they were about 25% less likely to develop prostate cancer when compared to those taking a placebo. Proscar is currently used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Results of these findings revealed that taking Proscar was associated with an increased risk of sexual side effects and prostate cancers that had a tendency to be more aggressive (higher grade). At this time, it is not certain if it is beneficial to take Proscar to prevent prostate cancer.
Not all medical institutions and advocacy groups agree on when men should be screened (routinely tested) for prostate cancer. But, as is the case with most other types of cancer, early detection often means more treatment options are available and less extensive treatment is necessary.
Doctors at The Cleveland Clinic recommend the following screening guidelines:
Source: Reviewed By Charlotte Mathis, MDWebMD
Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland
Prostate infection (Prostatitis)
Prostatitis, common in men of all ages, if the inflammation of the prostate gland. The usual cause is infectious bacteria that invade the prostate from another area of the body. Hormonal chances associated with aging may also be a cause. The inflammation can result in urine retention. This causes the bladder to become distended, weak, tender and itself susceptible to infection. Infection in the bladder is in turn early transmitted up the urethras to the kidneys.
There are two types of prostate infection, acute and chronic. Acute infections come on suddenly and have some or all of the follow symptoms: Fever and chills, pain and burning on urination and ejaculation, strong and frequent urge to urinate while passing only small amounts of urine, lower back or abdominal pain, blood in the urine (occasionally). Symptoms of chronic prostatitis are usually milder than those o an acute infection and fever and chills are usually not present. Either infection may occur with a urinary tract infection.
Sometimes, men will have painful urinary symptoms without
infection. This condition may be called prostatodynia and is often
related to stress or anxiety. Prostate infections usually respond
well to home care and antibiotic treatment. If the infection recurs,
long-term antibiotic treatment may be needed.
Prostatitis Treatment Options
Options for the home treatment:
Other treatment options:
When to call a doctor
It's time to check with your doctor:
Prevention of prostatitis
Ways to prevent prostatitis:
Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic
As men age, the prostate may enlarge. This seems to be a natural process and is not really a disease. Benign prostatic hypertrophy is the gradual enlargement of the prostate. It occurs in approximately half of all men over the age of fifty and three quarters of men over seventy years of age - a total of about 10 million American men - and is largely attributable to hormonal chances associated with aging. After the age of fifty or so, a mans testosterone and free testosterone levels decrease while the levels of other hormones, such as prolactin and estradiol, increase. This creates an increase in the amount of dihydrotestosterone - a very potent for of testosterone - within the prostate. This causes a hyperplasia (overproduction) of prostate cells, which ultimately results in prostate enlargement. While not cancerous, however, as the gland gets bigger, it tends to squeeze the urethra and cause urinary problems. If it becomes too large, it obstructs the urethral canal, interfering with urination and the ability to empty the bladder completely. Because the bladder cannot empty completely, the kidneys also may not empty as they should. Dangerous pressure on the kidneys can result. In severe cases, the kidneys may be damaged both by pressure and by substances in the urine. Bladder infections are associated with both prostatitis and enlarged prostate.
The major symptom of enlargement of the prostate is the need to pass urine frequently, with frequency increasing as time goes on. A man may find himself rising several times during the night to urinate. There can also be pain, burning and difficulty in starting and stopping urination. The presence of blood in the urine is not uncommon.
An enlarged prostate gland is not a serious problem unless urination becomes extremely difficult, or backed-up urine causes bladder infections or kidney damage. Some dribbling is very common and not necessarily a sign of prostate problems.
Surgery is usually not necessary for an enlarged prostate.
Although surgery used to be a common treatment, recent research shows
that most cases of prostate enlargement do not get worse over time as
previously thought. Many men find that their symptoms are stable and
some even clear up on their own. In these cases, the best treatment
is no treatment at all. Drugs are available that may help improve
symptoms in some men. Your doctor can advise you on the various
Prostate Enlarement Treatment Options
When to call your doctor
It's time to call your doctor:
Prevention of acute prostatitis and enlarged
Ways to prevent acute prostatitis and enlarged prostate:
Although it is relatively common, in most cases prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer. Most prostate cancers arise in the rear portion of the prostate gland; the rest originate near the urethra. Prostate cancers double in mass every six years, on average.
The disease often causes no symptoms at all until it reaches an advanced stage and/or spreads outside the gland. Or it could be one or more of the following: Pain or a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, a decrease in the size and force of urine flow, an inability to urinate, blood in the urine, and continuing lower back, pelvic or suprapublic discomfort. However, these symptoms most often are caused not by cancer but by benign enlargement or inflammation of the prostate. Thats why professional evaluation and diagnosis is so necessary.
The rate of prostate cancer in the U.S. is rising. In part, this is due to the aging of our population. Just a generation ago, the life expectancy for white men was sixty-five years; today, it is close to eighty years. However, the rate of prostate cancer is rapidly rising in all men, even those under fifty. This is significant because, in general, the younger a man is when he is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the worse his prognosis. The increase in prostate cancer among younger men points to the role of diet and exposure to environmental toxins in the development of the disease.
African-American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer, while Asian-American have the lowest. Men with a family history of prostate cancer also run a higher risk of developing the disease. The incidence is higher among married men that it is among unmarried men. Also at increased risk are men who have had recurring prostate infections, those with a history of venereal disease, and those who have taken testosterone. Researchers have also found a link between a high-fat diet and prostate cancer. This may be due to the fact that heavy fat consumption raises testosterone levels, which could then stimulate growth of the prostate, including any cancer cells it may be harboring. Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals increases risk as well. Some experts believe that vasectomy may increase a mans chances of developing prostate cancer. And, while it isnt conclusive, some medical professionals are recommending to have the vasectomy reversed.
It is believed by most that there is no way to prevent the disease, but early detection can make it possible to catch the cancer before it spreads to other parts in the body. A careful rectal exam of the prostate is the simplest and most cost-effective approach for detecting prostate cancer. The American Urologic Association recommends that ever man have an annual exam beginning at least by age forty. The American Cancer Society no longer recommends testing. They suggest discussing the options with your health care professional. (Wonder what that's all about? When early detection clearly saves lives, who gains from not being tested except those who know they don't have prostate cancer. And, without symptoms, who knows? Maybe the doctors and hospital and funeral homes gain? Families sure don't. Gives one something to think about!) A blood test to detect elevated levels of a substance called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is an excellent screening test for prostate cancer. PSA is currently the most valuable "tumor marker" available to diagnose and evaluate the effectiveness of therapy for prostate cancer. A PSA test result between 0 and 4 is considered to be within the normal range; a PSA over 10 is assumed to indicate cancer until proven otherwise. High PSA levels can be caused by factors other than cancer, including benign enlargement or inflammation of the prostate, an activity as innocuous as bicycle riding, or even the rectal exam itself. If a mans PSA level is found to be high, the test should always be repeated, because it does yield false-positive or false-negative results an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the time. Having the test repeated every year may help a physician to better interpret the results; in healthy men, PSA levels tend to remain relatively stable, rising only gradually from year to year, while cancer causes the levels to rise more dramatically.
Ultrasound scanning of the prostate is often done to follow up on
an abnormal rectal exam or PSA test. Other diagnostic tests,
including computerized tomography (CT) scans, bone scans, and
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be necessary, but are costly.
Ultimately, if test results point consistently to the presence of
cancer, a tissue diagnosis must be done to confirm it. This can be
done only by microscopic examination of a needle biopsy, preferably
directed under ultrasound control. Repeated biopsies may be needed in
some cases. This invasive procedure may itself cause complications.
Bleeding, urinary retention, impotence and sepsis (blood poisoning)
have been reported.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
Some of the treatment options for prostate cancer:
Prevention of prostate cancer
Since the prostate produces seminal fluid, there is a long-standing belief that regular ejaculations (two or three times per week) will help prevent an enlarged prostate. There is little scientific proof of this, but it is risk-free.
Diet is also a factor. Some recommend to maintain a whole-foods diet.:
In most cases, pain is manageable. No one should have to suffer, especially terminally ill cancer patients. And, while many of the major pain killers like morphine are controlled by the federal government, and the DEA has been very active in prosecuting doctors for alleged "over prescription", many of these patients report that the pain in too great in lower dosages. (See the film " and see what you think.)
AIDS and cancer patients have long reported the positive affect of
marijuana to reduce pain and improve the appetite, often an after
effect of chemotherapy. California and Arizona have passed laws
allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for certain ailments. Even
the New England Journal of Medicine has favored doctors who prescribe
marijuana. However, the federal government, not really caring about
peoples pain, has threatened to charge any doctor prescribing
it with a felony. Similar drugs have not received the governments
okay since they fear a person may become addicted, which is seldom
the case. Regardless of research to the contrary, "Even if the person
is dying, it seems that they (the government) would rather see him
die in pain rather than become an addict for the short time he has to
live," says Dr. Aubrey Pilgrim in his book A Revolutionary Approach
to Prostate Cancer. X-rays can be used to reduce or eliminate pain
for some time and Metastron (Stronitium 89) radiation works well on
bone metastases. Quadremet, which is a radioactive dryg similar to
Metasmon, has fewer side effects and Novantrone is the first
chemotherapy drug approved for treatment of pain from advanced
hormone refractory prostate cancer. For information, call
800.220.6302. Finally, there are a number of ways to deal with pain.
If you arent successful with you current doctor, find one who
will help. No one deseerves to have to live in pain.
The leakage of urine. Other happens after radical prostatectomy. It often requires the use of under garment pads like Attends or Depends. Some men are embarrassed about change these pads several times a day. Some alternatives are: Have a radical prostatectomy using the Gaker procedure which preserves the bladder sphincter. The procedure was published in The Journal of Urology, 8/96 or have your doctor call Dr. Douglas Gaker at 513.423.0739 for a video on the procedure. You can also do exercises to strengthen the lower sphincter, which might include the Kegel exercises, originally developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel for women. These exercises can be done in private or in public - no one will know. Other treatments that might help include penile clamps, condom catheters, biofeedback, artificial urinary sphinter, collagen and fat injections, and medication. There are other products yet to be approved by the FDA than are being used in Europe like poly-Teflon which is used instead of collagen as a bulking agent. (Resources.)
The penis is a vascular organ which requires exercise. A healthy male will normally experience 3 to 4 erections during their sleep which may last a hour or more each. They are a normal body function whose purpose is to oxygenate the penile erectile tissue. Its inability to achieve and maintain an erection suitable for vaginal intercourse is called "male erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotency, for short. Impotency affects over 30 million men and their partners. So, having to face the possibility of impotency as an after-affect of prostate cancer treatment can be of major concern. To some men it is a symbol of the loss of their manhood, and can be critical to a mans ego and self-image. And often, because of this, some men are afraid to seek help. And, often when he does, the physician feels uncomfortable or is unable to help because many arent aware of the options. If the truth were known, however, virtually 100% of impotency problems can be successfully diagnosed and treated, whether physical or emotional, unless there is permanent injury or severance of the nerves and or vascular supply necessary in the erectile process.
Medications taken for hypertension and depression usually inhibit normal erectile function and can be changed to an alternative which may allow the return to normal sexual function. In addition, three drugs may offer hope. Viagra has achieved very good results in men with psychogenic impotence and also in men with organic impotence. The intensity of the erection is enhanced as well as overall performance and there may be major side effects, and a risk of death for some patients. A doctor will be able to determine if Viagra is right for you. (This too will be reviewed November 1. For books on the subject, check "Books" "Issues" "Health-General".) Vasomax has been used for years as an injectable medication and is now being tested in pill form. It is another medication which works to dilate penile blood flow in men with mild vascular problems. Apo-Morphine is being evaluated for treatment of only psychogenic impotence.
Vacuum erection devices work to create an erection mechanically by drawing the blood into the penis. While this eliminates the need for medication, it does require some preparation time which decreases spontaneity. However, they work for many men and are covered by Medicare and many insurance companies.
Medical Urethral System for Erection (MUSE) is a cream which is absorbed through the urethra and dilates the cavernosal spongy tissue of the erectile chambers. It has about a 66% success rate and anxiously awaits approval to replace injectable forms of therapy.
Injection Therapies - Papaverine was the first effective medical treatment for ED. To date, there are two currently approved by the FDA. Caverject and Edex which are effective in about 85% of patients. Occasionally, Papaverine by itself or with Regitine and Prostaglandin E will be used, which is much better than any on eof them used alone. Some men will have erections lasting a few minutes to 45 minutes. Dosage determines this. Used immediately after radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy may prevent atrophy of the smooth muscle necessary for erection which is associated with non-use of the penis.
Penile Prosthesis, rigid, semi-rigid or inflatable implants, can
very a scary thing for many men. Getting your questions answered is
most important because it is a serious decision. They are only
necessary in about 10% of patients. For men who have become impotent
following radical surgery, radiation or cryosurgery, or have
arthritis and decreased manual dexterity, this procedure may be the
last hope. The success rate is very high and they remain effective at
a 90-95% rate 5 years after implantation.
Im usually more skeptical of Western medicine and chemical solutions than natural or Eastern methods. With anything, you should get as much information as possible and know what youre doing. One place to turn is the Cedars of Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, which publishes a monthly newsletter dealing with cancer advances, therapies, prevention and support concerns. The February, 1997 issue included an article titled "Unproven Methods of Cancer Management" which discussed the potential dangers of various claimed cures such as macrobiotic diets, psychic surgery, quack drugs such as Prostada, shark cartilage and biological products, electronic gadgets, and devices, herbal and fold remedies, dietary approaches, bogus diagnostic tests, metabolic therapies, mental imagery, faith healing, homeopathic and many other unproven treatments and modalities. It can be found at www.csccc.com There is also a newsletter, published by the National Council Against Health Fraud with short articles about many of the current health frauds. Write PO Box 1276, Loma Linda, CA 92354. If you encounter a scam, contact the National Fraud Information Center, 1.800.876.7060 or you may write the Federal Trade Commission, Room 1105, Washington, D.C. 20580. Do as much checking as possible before you spend good money, and possibly risk your life, using up-proven methods to cure prostate cancer or anything else for that matter.
The appropriate treatment for impotence depends upon whether the
cause is physical or psychological. A man whose impotence is
psychologically based generally still has erections during sleep,
whereas an individual whose impotence is physical in origin usually
does to. One easy, inexpensive way to test for nocturnal erections is
with postage stamps. Glue a strip of stamps around the shaft of the
penis before going to bed. If the ring of stamps is broken in the
morning, the cause of the impotence is likely psychological. If the
strip is unbroken, the impotence is likely physiological. You can
also purchase a kit called Snap Gauge from UroHealth Corporation.
This test is designed to detect the measure the rigidity of erections
experienced during sleep. Call 800.328.1103 for more information.
Similarity to Breast Cancer
The prostate also can be examined by the patient or his partner at six-month intervals in between the regular yearly exam. If indeed you feel a lump, you then have a six-month jump on treatment. This is not talked about a lot because many people have trouble dealing with these parts of the body.
It's easy for a man to feel his own prostate gland. It's a walnut-sized organ at the base of the bladder. It can be felt with the tip of a finger inserted into the rectum. Its texture and firmness should be similar to that of the flesh between your thumb and the rest of the hand when you make a tight fist. If you feel anything that is as firm as the knuckle, then that needs to be brought to a physician's attention.
How you reach the prostate, of course, is up to you. Some men may do the exam in the shower, where soap can be used as a lubricant. This can be a little tricky, because you need to get the palm surface of your finger in contact with the prostate, although the fingernail surface can be used for a cursory examination. You may feel more comfortable if you wear a thin latex glove.
Self-Exam With Partner
Occasionally, you see hospitals welcoming husbands and boyfriends into their breast self-examination classes. The idea is that perhaps the woman is more likely to get her breast examined if her partner is doing it. The same goes here.
It's not difficult to teach your partner how to examine your prostate gland. Aesthetics aside, this is something every individual couple has to decide if they want to do.
Many men can tell when their prostate is being touched because it's very sensitive. If you're having someone else do it, you'll know immediately when they reach paydirt. If you're doing it yourself, it will also be obvious.
Most folks are surprised by how deep they have to reach. You'd have to have long fingers, indeed, to reach completely to the far end of the prostate gland, but in medicine we are content to touch as much of the surface as possible.
As with breast self-examination, you want to cover all surfaces,
and you should be consistent in how you approach it. Use a sweeping
motion of the finger on one side, and then switch to the other side,
to make sure that you cover as much of the surface as possible.
If you're doing this on someone else, the man can tell you when you've touched the prostate. At that point, feel for the rounded shape and the borders of the prostate, which, as I've mentioned, shouldn't be much larger than a walnut. If it is larger, the man could have enlargement of the prostate gland, which should be brought to a doctor's attention.
Once you establish the outside borders, then make sure your finger touches as much of the in-between tissue as possible. The prostate gland overall is fairly firm, as I mentioned, and you are feeling for any hardness or inconsistency in texture. If any part of it feels harder, bring it to a doctor's attention. If you're not sure, or you have any other questions, mention to your physician that you are doing self-examination or partner examination, and you want to confirm the results.
Remember, this is not to be done as a substitute for a exam by a
physician. Do the self-exam at the six-month interval between your
10 Steps to a healthier life and reduced risk of
2. Add more high-fiber foods - particularly colon cancer. This includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables including peaches, strawberries, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, wheat and bran cereals, rice, popcorn, whole-wheat bread.
3. Choose foods with Vitamin A. Cancers of the esophagus, larynx and lung. Fresh foods with beta-carotene like carrots, peaches, apricots, squash and broccoli are the best source, not vitamin pills.
4. Do the same for Vitamin C. This could help prevent against cancers of the esophagus and stomach. Grapefruit, cantaloupe, oranges, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes.
5. Add weight control. Obesity is linked to cancers of the uterus, gallbladder, breast and colon. Exercise and lower calorie intake help you avoid gaining a lot of weight. Walking is ideal exercise for most people and primes you for other sports.
6. Trim fat from your diet. A high-fat diet increases your risk of colon, prostate and breast cancer (3% of men). Fat-loaded calories mean a weight gain for you, especially if you don't exercise. Cut overall fat intake by eating lean meat, fish, skinned poultry, low-fat dairy products. Avoid pastry, candies.
7. Subtract salt-cured, smoked, nitrite-cured foods. Cancers of the esophagus and stomach are common in countries where these foods are eaten in large quantities. Choose bacon, ham, hot dogs or salt-cured fish only occasionally, if you like them allot.
8. Stop cigarette smoking. It is the biggest cancer risk factor of all - the main cause of lung cancer and 30% of all cancers. Smoking at home means more respiratory and allergic ailments for kids. Chewing tobaccos are harmful, too, as risks for mouth and throat cancers.
9. Go easy on alcohol. If you drink allot, your risk of liver cancer increases. Smoking and drinking alcohol greatly increases risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus.
10. Respect the sun's rays. Too much sun causes skin cancer and
other damage to your skin. Protect yourself with sunscreen - at least
#15, wear long sleeves and a hat, especially during midday hours
(11AM-3PM). Don't use indoor sun lamps, tanning parlors or pills. If
you see changes in a mole or a sore that does not heal, see your
physician. Other risk factors: excessive X rays, estrogen's and
work-related exposures to harmful chemicals and fibers like asbestos
are potential risks.
"Viagra news coverage concerning discrimination
in insurance payments."
1. Covering tests for women for breast cancer and not covering tests for men for prostate cancer. FACT: Almost twice as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year versus women diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition, virtually as many men die of prostate cancer as women who die of breast cancer, and there is no treatment for prostate cancer to date that improves a mans life.
2. Covering tests for girls for breast cancer and not covering tests for boys for testicular cancer. FACT: 7,200 boys 15-34 will be diagnosed and 350 will die this year from the disease, much greater than girls/women in that age group dying of breast cancer.
Also, a review of the disparage between the amount spent for research and awareness campaigns on the above should be of great interest. The National Cancer Institute estimates that they will spend $332.9 million on breast cancer research this year while spending $74.0 million on the study of prostate cancer and $0 on testicular cancer. Prostate cancer receives the least amount of funding per patient of all major cancers. Source: American Foundation for Urologic Disease.
The National Cancer Institute also reported that during the period 1950-1991, women's rate of death from breast cancer increased 2% while men's rate of death from prostate cancer increased 25%. Until the last few years, you never heard anything about prostate cancer. Even today, it's not a high priority on health programs or the news. There's no postage stamp or brochures at the post office. (The second Breast Cancer postage stamp will soon be issued to raise awareness of breast cancer and to fund additional research.) Theres no special research or funding organizations for prostate cancer, no national prevention month, week or even day.
This is not to say that everything that is being done to find a cure for breast cancer should not be done. However, where do mens health issues fit in in your local news analysis and reporting? What about the fact that of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead in every single category.
If youre interested, Ive included some additional
information on the subject which can be verified with a simple call
to The National Cancer Institute regarding the facts on new
diagnosis, death and research spending. Calls to HMOs, health
insurance carries, etc. will verify the differences in coverage.
This program has become the nation's largest cancer screening program having attracted over 3 million participants. The first year of the program (1989), there were fewer than 100 screening centers in the United States. Today, this number has increased to several hundred locations providing free or low-cost prostate cancer screening with digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.
Its difficult to come to terms with prostate cancer. Fear of openly discussing the disease; complex treatment decisions; painful side effects - survivors are often left feeling frustrated and powerless. Too often, men face a diagnosis of prostate cancer privately, searching for reliable treatments while hoping for the best. Meanwhile, the disease cuts a devastating path through the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and their families every year. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in the U.S. And is the second leading cause of cancer death (after lung cancer). It affects one out of every five men. A new case is diagnosed every three minutes. If a close relative has prostate cancer, a mans risk for the disease more than doubles. With two relatives with the disease, his risk increases fivefold. With three relatives, his risk is nearly 100%. In recent years following public activism by AIDS and breast cancer advocates, mortality due to those diseases dropped. But the number of deaths due to prostate cancer will kill 28,900 men this year and more than double the number of deaths due to aids. Support for prostate cancer research lags far behind funding for other diseases.
In 1997, spending on research for every death from the disease looked something like this:
The scarcity of funding for prostate cancer research creates a vicious cycle. Young and established researchers are drawn to more profitable avenues of investigation; private enterprise views the field as too risky for investment; and ideas that might lead to a cure are conceived but never completed. Source: CapCure www.capcure.org
This public awareness and education program was conceived and instituted by the Prostate Cancer Education Council (PCEC) which represents urology, oncology, patient advocacy, minorities, clinical and behavioral research. Because of the alarming percentage of men presenting advanced, incurable prostate cancer, the PCED was formed in 1988 to promote awareness, screening and early detection of prostate cancer.
General Norman Schwartzkopf has served as national PCAW chairman
since 1994 and in 1996 actor Danny Glover joined as co-chairman in
order to help recruit African American men, who have the highest risk
of prostate cancer in the world. In 2000, Arnold Palmer added his
name to the ranks of men asking you to get a prostate exam. Over
220,900 men will be diagnosed this year and 28,900 will die because
they didn't catch it soon enough. www.hisandherhealth.com
or go to www.pcaw.org
Blue enamel tie pin
Blue ribbon pin (prostate cancer)
Half blue/half pink ribbon pin (prostate and breast cancer)
Prostate Cancer Awareness
Screen Together - Live Together
The pink and blue ribbon is the symbol originating from the
Healing Choices, Bridging Communities 2000 conference at the
University of California at San Francisco November 18, 2000. It was
the first breast and prostate cancer forum integrating Western
Medicine with the Healing Traditions from many cultures. It
encourages women and men to screen together, women for breast cancer,
men for prostate cancer. This comes from the knowledge that many of
those who die of these cancer's are married or have spouses and that,
since men are less likely to get screened, when their cancer is
detected, it is usually at a more advanced stage. Every women is at
risk for breast cancer and every man is at risk for prostate cancer.
The best way to protect yourself against it is to find it early.
Schedule an annual exam the same time your wife schedules her
mammogram. And enjoy many move years living together. Get a pin at
Prostate Screenings during Prostate Cancer
Goodbye Prostate Cancer Awareness
However, on September 30, 2001, the U.S. Postal Service withdrew the Prostate Cancer Awareness stamp from sale through the USA Philatelic mail order catalog and it is no longer be available. Some of the larger post offices that have Philatelic Centers for collectors may still have a very limited inventory. Of course, non-postal stamp dealers and collectors may have some for sale.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men (after lung cancer) and, excluding skin cancer, is the most common cancer in American men. Early prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms.
Designed by Michael Cronan of San Francisco, Calif., the Prostate Cancer Awareness stamp design incorporates the male symbol. The words "Prostate Cancer Awareness" are stacked at the top of the vertically formatted stamp, "USA 33" appears turned 90 degrees counterclockwise in the bottom-left corner, and stacked in a box positioned in the bottom-right corner of the design are the words "Annual Checkups and Tests."
While the Postal Service does not endorse any particular testing method, the stamp encourages men who schedule annual physicals or checkups to discuss testing options with their healthcare provider.
For more information on stamps, visit the Postal Service Web site at www.usps.com and click "Stamps." To order stamps or stamp products, go directly to www.stampsonline.com
Technical Details: Issue: Prostate Cancer Awareness; Item Number:
448200; Denomination & Type of Issue: 33-cent Commemorative;
Stamps per Pane/Coil: 20; Print Quantity: 78.1 million stamps; Gum
Type: Self-adhesive. It was removed from sale September 30, 2001.
The First Breast and Prostate Cancer and
Integrative Medicine Conference: Healing Choices, Bridging
Communities 11/18/00 - 8:30am-5pm, UCSF San Francisco, $10
Dr. David Spiegel, noted researcher on the role of Breast Cancer support groups for terminally ill patients, Stanford University, will be the Keynote speaker. Among the Professors from UCSF, Stanford and other major research and educational institutions who will discuss most recent developments are Dr. Peter Carroll (prostate), Dr. Debu Tripathy (breast) sharing new Diagnostic Techniques, as well as advances in Integrative Medicine. Dr. Mark Moyad, Head of the Department of Integrative Medicine, University of Michigan Hospital and an authority on Nutrition and Prostate Cancer, will join them. Other San Francisco physicians are Dr. Pearl Yee, Dr. Tom Lue, Dr. Mack Roach III.
These will be followed by Hands on Breakout Sessions, Nutrition, Sexuality, Talking with your Doctor each led by authorities on both cancers.
The luncheon, included in the registration fee. San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. will be our luncheon speaker which is especially significant as the US Conference of Mayors health programs now include breast and prostate cancers.
This unique day will culminate in a stimulating closing with Andy Grove, CEO, Intel, who is a Prostate Cancer Survivor and Dr. Ernie Bodai, the originator of the 40 cent breast cancer stamp introduced in Congress by Senator Dianne Feinstein which has raised millions of dollars. Dr. Bodai is now fighting his prostate cancer - we hope that Senator Feinstein will join us to discuss her role as a Senator and advocate and what each person can do to advocate individually and collectively.
This Conference, following the extraordinarily successful Conferences on Breast Cancer and Integrative Medicine in 1998 and 1999, is designed to reach all men and women in the Bay Area, especially the underserved, many of whom have never attended such a meeting. As the first ever breast/prostate cancer conference, it will explore the similarities and differences, opening new vistas, giving knowledge and hope. We hope that you will attend, while encouraging other physicians, nurses, friends, patients and families to attend as well.
Co-Chairs: Dr. Marc Shuman, Associate Director, UCSF Comprehensive
Cancer Center, Stan Rosenfeld - Prostate Cancer Survivor and
Activist; and Carolene Marks - Breast Cancer Survivor and Activist..
Kaiser Permanente Recommends Against Prostate Screenings
* The Reasons Kaiser gives for not having a PSA test:
Many other expert organizations like the U.S. Preventive Services
Task Force, the National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Task Force
on Periodic Health Exams do not recommend PSA testing. Althought
the American Cancer Society recomends prostate cancer screening and
wants to increase public awaerness, the more frequent testing that
they recommend has not been shown to prevent prostate cancer deaths.
(Actually, the American Cancer Society no longer recommends testing,
The Prevalant View of ASCO, the American
Cancer Society and many HMO's
Unlike other cancers, prostate cancer grows very slowly in many (not all) men, so slowly that they would not threaten the life of the patient if not treated. So detecting cancer may subject some men to surgery and other treatments that might not ever be needed. Since prostate cancer treatments have significant side effects, treating it unnecessarily can seriously affect a mans quality of life.
Until there is more complete research to evaluate, ASCO does not yet have an official statement about prostate cancer screening, or recommendations for men on when they should start getting tested for prostate cancer. Patients should discuss their situation with their doctor and work together to make a decision.
may cause diabetes
The Danger in this
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in American men. It is curable if diagnosed early. Early detection is the key.
About 30,000 men will die from it this year alone. Men over 45 don't need another excuse to avoid taking care of their health.
But the argument against the use of the prostate specific antigen blood test for detecting prostate cancer has provided that excuse -- pitting public health officials and primary care physicians, who claim there is no evidence of PSA success beyond a reasonable doubt, against many urologists who ask why a 27 percent decline in prostate cancer mortalities in the past five years isn't evidence enough.
Despite American Cancer Society and American Urological Association guidelines that encourage doctors to offer a PSA test and a digital rectal exam while discussing the risks of the disease, too many doctors lean toward discouraging the test, focusing on misplaced convictions that the test discovers insignificant tumors and that it doesn't save lives.
Physicians who have deferred or waffled on PSA testing are losing their licenses and seeing their malpractice insurance carriers pay out millions of dollars to bereaved families.
In a November 2001 wrongful death suit, a widow was awarded $3 million in a case in which the doctor in question "did not tell the patient about [the high PSA level] or recommend further testing or follow up visits."
A study at Long Beach Community Cancer Center of 48 such prostate cancer malpractice cases determined that, of the 22 awards totaling over $8.4 million, roughly $7.5 million "could have been avoided if PSA screening and diagnostic guidelines . . . had been followed."
These cases have become legal benchmarks as the PSA debate has moved from the doctor's office into the courthouse. They should come as a warning to science and public health policy officials across the country: If you continue to delay a decision on PSA, lawyers and lawmakers will make it for you.
Urologists will tell you that, despite imperfections, the PSA test has changed the prostate cancer diagnostic landscape. Before it, nearly three out of four men diagnosed with the disease were in the late stages -- when prostate cancer is neither readily treatable nor curable. The advent of screening has inverted that statistic, giving men a fighting chance. Regional studies support that early detection reduces mortality. One study in Austria shows that prostate cancer mortalities were markedly reduced with widespread PSA screening.
Even though newer blood tests help clarify the likelihood of cancer when PSA is abnormal, we still need more research to determine better models for early detection. But should we doom the thousands of men who could die waiting up to 14 years for the results of a randomized trial to determine "perfect intelligence" on the PSA? With so many lives in the balance, how much evidence do we need to convince us that prostate cancer is our enemy, not the test that so often detects it in time to permit a cure?
Men over the age of 50 -- and even younger if they are at higher
risk of prostate cancer (African Americans and men with family
histories of the disease) should "get on with it." Set aside the
excuses and resolve to be tested every year.
Source: Carl Frankel, an advocate for the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, is retired general counsel for the United Steel Workers of America and a prostate cancer survivor. www.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20020611hprostate4.asp
Best Reason to Fight for More Research
The major reason all of these major organizations that deal with cancer are not recommending testing is because, unlike breast cancer, they say they haven't found anything that improves or extends a man's life if he gets prostate cancer so, basically, just let it grow. With almost five-times more research spending per death, plus untold millions on awareness, breast cancer cures are seeing great results. At the rate men bought Viagra, you've got to believe they would spend a lot if there was something that could stop prostate cancer without becoming impotent or incontinent. The difference is that women have raised the banners. Have spend their personal time and money to make things happen, have purhcased millions of Breast Cancer Awareness Stamps, have made a difference. Unlike women, few men have done any of those things, and while the U.S. Postal Service did creat a Prostate Cancer Awareness stamp, over 50 million of the 78 million stamps were aken off the marked to give way to stamps that sell.. Will anyone wake up before you get prostate cancer to find a way that helps men live out those final years happier and healthier? Will you?
Note: Spending in 1997 on research looked something like this:
Breast Cancer $12,800/death, prostate cancer $2,700/death.)