Harvard Health Blog

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


Infertility may raise risk of aggressive prostate cancer

A 2010 study of more than 22,500 California men found that being infertile significantly raised the risk of developing aggressive disease.

Afraid of the dentist? How do you deal with it?

In our October issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, we offer advice about how to manage dental phobia. I’d love to hear from readers of this blog about what techniques they use to cope with their own dental fear. I’ll compile representative replies in a later post. (This issue is one I grapple with […]

Unconscious or Subconscious?

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.  […]

Radiation therapy in the spotlight (Part 1 of 2)

Three experts from Harvard Medical School discuss radiation therapy, its delivery methods, and treatment modalities. Recent advances in radiation therapy and possible side effects are also explored.

Radiation therapy in the spotlight (Part 2 of 2)

Three experts from Harvard Medical School continue their discussion about radiation therapy, touching on whether economics and potential profits drive treatment recommendations.

PSA screening for prostate cancer

Two studies come to different conclusions about the benefits, leaving patients and their doctors to decide what makes sense.

PSA — Old controversies, new results

Many experts believe prostate cancer is the exception to the rule when it comes to screening. In fact, PSA screening may actually do more harm than good. Two studies, one conducted in the U.S. and the other in Europe, were hopefully going to settle the debate over the value of the PSA. While they gave us some answers, we are still a long way from settling the debate.

Moving beyond PSA

Genetic biomarkers may help doctors decide whether to perform a biopsy, determine the best treatment, and develop new targeted therapies for prostate cancer.

Using PSA to determine prognosis

Renowned radiation oncologist and researcher Anthony D’Amico, M.D., Ph.D. discusses his PSA research and its implications for prostate cancer treatment.

One couple’s story: Handling prostate cancer in the face of differing biopsies

Elliot and Elizabeth Boyd share their experience with a prostate cancer diagnosis, explain their next steps in light of seemingly contradictory test results, and offer advice to those coping with their diagnosis and weighing treatment options.

Raising prostate cancer awareness among African Americans: Two patients’ stories

Two prostate cancer survivors talk about the importance of prostate cancer education among African Americans and other men at high risk.

Androgen-independent prostate cancer: A patient’s story

Ken Gannon talks about his 13 year battle with prostate cancer and his experiences with second-line hormone therapies, investigational drugs, and four clinical trials, one of which nearly killed him.

A patient’s story: Why one man opted for lifestyle changes instead of treatment

Patient Ben Hunter explains why he decided to postpone treatment for prostate cancer and the lifestyle changes he made immediately following his diagnosis.

Choosing — and sticking with — active surveillance: A patient’s story

Patient Jeffrey Caruso explains why he decided to pursue active surveillance and under what circumstances he would opt to treat his prostate cancer.

Technology and decision-making: A patient’s story

How endorectal MRI helped one couple choose the “best” treatment for prostate cancer.

A patient’s story: Why one man chose robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy

After talking with numerous medical professionals and asking friends about how they treated their prostate cancers, financial services executive Steve Henley opted to have a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. In this interview, he explains what factors went into that decision.

Drug combo better at easing BPH than either drug alone

Study shows that taking both dutasteride (Avodart) and tamsulosin (Flomax) might be more effective at easing symptoms than taking just one.

Continuous vs. intermittent hormone therapy (IHT): No survival difference

Given the beneficial effects and the lack of a survival difference, intermittent hormone therapy may be a preferred regimen for men with advanced prostate cancer.

Use caution with selenium supplements

High levels of selenium in the blood are associated with a slightly higher-than-normal risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy: How long should it last?

A European study finds that mortality is higher among men who pursue hormone therapy for just six months. But the study was conducted in men with relatively large tumors, not small, early-stage tumors, the kind found most often in American men.

Midlife PSA tests may predict prostate cancer diagnosis up to 25 years later

According to a 2007 Swedish study, a PSA test done between the ages of 44 and 50 may predict whether or not a man will develop prostate cancer later in life.

Initial PSA tests can’t distinguish lethal prostate cancers

In a study of over 250 men, Swedish researchers found that neither the initial PSA level nor its rate of increase in a two-year period predicted which men had lethal versus indolent cancers.

PSA screening: What doctors tell their patients

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

Task force says no to PSA screening for older men

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.

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