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, …

Prostate Gene Test Could Save Men From Surgery

For men who undergo a biopsy for a prostate tumor, the big question has been whether to wait and see if the cancer grows slowly, or to treat it immediately with a regimen that could cause incontinence or impotence. What made the decision difficult is that there’s been no good way to tell which kind of cancer a man might have – slow-growing or aggressive – but a new gene-analysis test introduced this week may make the decision clearer. The …