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Harvard Health Blog

Read the latest posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.


PSA screening: What doctors tell their patients

Published November 3, 2009

Fifteen Harvard-affiliated physicians discuss their recommendations for PSA screening.

Task force says no to PSA screening for older men

Published November 3, 2009

The U.S. Preventive Services task force announced in 2008 that doctors should stop testing men who are 75 or older. The panel also concluded that the benefit of screening in younger men is uncertain.

What does a fluctuating PSA mean?

Published November 3, 2009

If your PSA has varied greatly and biopsies have been negative, you might want to try a different testing regimen.

Can nerve grafts restore erectile function?

Published November 3, 2009

Studies have shown that some men who have their neurovascular bundles removed during a radical prostatectomy may regain erectile function with nerve grafts. But a patient’s best bet for preserving erectile function is to find an experienced surgeon.

Treating prostatitis: Any cause for optimism?

Published November 3, 2009

Standard treatments for prostatitis, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and alpha blockers, are often ineffective. Patients might find relief by using drugs currently in clinical trials or nontraditional therapies such as biofeedback and myofascial trigger release, a form of massage.

Prostate cancer risk in African Americans

Published November 3, 2009

African American men have, by far, the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. They are also more than twice as likely to die of the disease as white American men. No single factor — diet, obesity, socioeconomic status, or biology — accounts for the disparity, and the search for an explanation continues.

Blood calcium levels may be linked to prostate cancer death

Published October 23, 2009

Research finds that men with high blood calcium levels are more likely to develop fatal prostate cancer than men with lower blood calcium levels.

No “home run” for proton radiation–at least not yet

Published October 23, 2009

A clinical trial of proton radiation for early prostate cancer found that the treatment is safe and well-tolerated by patients, but probably no better than other, less expensive forms of radiation.

What is the difference between PSA and free PSA?

Published October 1, 2009

Kevin R. Loughlin, M.D., M.B.A., director of Urologic Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains how these tests differ.

Diabetes inversely related to prostate cancer risk

Published September 29, 2009

Two studies conclude that men with diabetes have a lower risk of prostate cancer than nondiabetics, suggesting a potential biological link between the conditions.

Second BPH drug reduces prostate cancer risk

Published September 29, 2009

Like finasteride (Proscar), dutasteride (Avodart), a drug used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Safety concerns prompt labeling change on testosterone gels

Published September 29, 2009

Manufacturers of testosterone gel products must add a boxed warning on the products about adverse effects.

Vitamin E-selenium-soy combo doesn’t prevent prostate cancer

Published September 29, 2009

Canadian researchers report in 2009 that these supplements offer no benefit in terms of prostate cancer prevention.

What is a “PSA bounce?”

Published September 29, 2009

I had brachytherapy to treat my prostate cancer and my PSA had dropped to 0.3 ng/ml. But six months ago, my PSA had gone up to 0.5, and now it’s up to 0.8 ng/ml. I’m worried that the cancer is back; my doctor said it could be a “PSA bounce.” What’s that?

Can a vasectomy increase prostate cancer risk?

Published September 29, 2009

Experts conclude that there is no association between vasectomy and prostate cancer risk.

What’s the downside to a biopsy?

Published September 29, 2009

Even if my father takes antibiotics beforehand, could he develop a serious infection when he has a prostate biopsy later this year? Are there other possible complications we should be on the lookout for?

How soon can I bike after a biopsy?

Published September 29, 2009

I am an avid bicyclist, and I am having a prostate biopsy in a few weeks. How long do I need to wait after the biopsy before I can start biking again?

What if I have prostate cancer and lymphoma?

Published September 29, 2009

There’s no one correct course of action. In general, experts recommend first treating whichever condition is worse.

Am I too old to have prostate surgery?

Published September 29, 2009

A radical prostatectomy is a major operation that can lead to serious complications. If a man is older than 75, his doctor may not want to operate on him.

Do I need to use condoms after prostate surgery?

Published September 29, 2009

Yes. Even if a man doesn’t ejaculate, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can still be passed from one partner to another during sexual activity.

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