New Prostate Cancer Screening Guideline Recommends ‘Individualized Decisionmaking’ by Patients

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent national panel of medical experts, this week released a draft revised guideline on screening for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The revised guideline reverses its 2012 recommendation discouraging PSA screening among men of all races and ages. Instead, USPSTF now encourages men ages 55 to 69 to discuss the test with their physicians and decide for themselves if they want to undergo PSA screening. The draft guideline also …

Examining the Evidence on Treating Prostate Cancer: What’s a Man to Do?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer (next to skin cancer) and the second leading cause of death from cancer among men in the U.S. Due to the high risk of side effects associated with prostate cancer treatments, such as erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence, physicians and consumers want to know they are choosing the best evidence-based treatment. Unfortunately, there is currently no scientific consensus to guide them. A recent study compared three treatment options for prostate …

Doctors’ Profit Spurs More Men to Get Prostate Radiation

A government investigation reveals that doctors who have a financial interest in a radiation center are more likely to prescribe such treatment for older men with prostate cancer, possibly leading to unneeded procedures, negative side effects and a bloated medical bill. The New York Times reports that investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Medicare beneficiaries were often unaware that their doctor stood to profit from prescribing radiation therapy. Alternative treatments might be equally effective, especially for older men, …

Overcoming Loss of Libido After Cancer

Q: I am 69 years of age and married. Three and a half years ago I had radiation treatment  for prostate cancer. The cancer is in remission. However, my libido has come to a screeching halt. I have no interest in sex, although I have forced myself to try masturbation to try for an erection. Occasionally this will work, but most times it is a failure. Because of my lack of libido, my wife and I are slipping away from …

Fish Oils May Raise Men’s Risk of Prostate Cancer

Omega-3 fish oils, found in supplements as well as fatty fish like salmon and sardines, have been touted for their health benefits, including protecting against heart disease. But a new study seems to turn that advice on its head for men: Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have found that men with high blood levels of fish oils have an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Men with the highest levels had a 71 percent increased risk …

Surgery Overkill: Why Do We Love Robotic Procedures?

The treatments cost more and, at least in the case of prostate surgeries and hysterectomies, there’s no evidence they do a better job, yet as National Public Radio put it, “it’s hard to resist a robot.” Especially for older men. Even though most medical associations have warned men with early stage prostate cancer not to rush into unneeded treatment – like surgery or radiation that could leave them incontinent or impotent  – older men are increasingly choosing expensive new treatments, …