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 recommends against PSA screening in men 70 and older.
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 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.
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 each other in terms of the relationship. You should also know that prior to the cancer, my libido and interest in sex was high. My testosterone test showed a normal count.
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.
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.
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.
The first major study of long-term daily multivitamin use by nearly 15,000 older men found that it has a modest effect in reducing overall cancer but not, unfortunately, in lowering the risk for prostate cancer.
"Comedy duo Cheech & Chong have long been associated with pot," starts a recent USA Today post about actor and comedian Tommy Chong, now 74. "Associated with" is kind of an understatement"”the pair pretty much invented the stoner comedy. Chong has recently been back in the news talking about marijuana, albeit in quite a different context: Diagnosed with prostate cancer, he said he's been turning to cannabis to treat disease symptoms such as wooziness.
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