Posts Tagged ‘prostate cancer’

DC Hospitals Step It Up During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month – FREE Resources You Need to Know About

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To raise awareness about prostate cancer, hospitals in Washington, D.C. are stepping-up this September for a good cause indeed.  Did you know that an estimated 240,890 new cases of prostate cancer will be reported this year? About 33,720 men will die this year alone from prostate cancer. About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.

Although prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, the good news is that the survival rate is quite high for patients who are diagnosed and treated early.  If you are a man, a key to your survival is to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and to seek regular screening.

This year, Georgetown University Hospital will recognize Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by offering men free prostate cancer screening.

Who should get screened?

-          Men over the age of 35 – particularly African-American or Hispanic men over the age of 35

-          Men with a family history of prostate cancer

If you meet the above criteria, don’t miss out on this opportunity. Free screening will be offered on Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 8:00a.m. to 12:00p.m. in the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Free parking will be available in the Leavey Center garage.  The Georgetown University Hospital is located at 3800 Reservoir Rd. NW, Washington, D.C., 20007. “The screening will consist of blood testing to determine PSA (prostate specific antigen) level, total cholesterol, and a digital rectal exam (DRE) to be performed by physicians.”

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you might want to contact the Providence Hospital prostate cancer support group.  This group is specifically dedicated to helping patients live and cope with prostate cancer. Brothers Prostate Cancer Support Group meets every 4th Tuesday between 6:30p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Providence Hospital’s Wellness Institute (1150 Varnum St. NE, 3rd Floor, Washington, D.C 20017).  For more information, please call 202-269-7795.

Please share this information with your friends, fans, and readers. For more information about cancer support groups in the D.C. area, please visit DC Cancer Consortium.

How Much Do You Really Know About Prostate Cancer? Facts you should know!

Monday, October 25th, 2010

According to the American Cancer Society, about 217,730 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. Another 32,050 men are expected to die from prostate cancer in 2010.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men.

Prostate cancer refers to carcinoma of the prostate gland. The prostate is about the size of a walnut, and it is an integral part of the male reproductive system. This gland secretes and stores an alkaline fluid that makes up about 25-30% of the semen. This alkaline fluid is what prolongs the life of the spermatozoa once secreted. The prostate gland wraps around the urethra, which conducts the urine out of the bladder.  Men diagnosed with prostate cancer experience difficulties with urination as the gland swells up, thus constricting the urethra.

Considering the prevalence of this cancer in the male population, each man should take time to familiarize himself with the signs and symptoms of this disease and how it is diagnosed.  Some of the symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Urinary hesitation
  • Urinary dribbling
  • Urinary retention
  • Pain with urination
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Urinary leakage
  • Bloody urine
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

If you happen to experience some or all of  the above symptoms, make sure to talk to your doctor about the possibility of prostate cancer.  You should ask your physician to explain to you the various diagnostic tests, which could help make an early diagnosis.  These include:

  • PCA test – Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test is designed to examine the level of a substance produced by the prostate gland (i.e., the antigen). An elevated PCA level could be indicative of prostate cancer.
  • AMACR - α-Methylacyl Coenzyme A Racemase (AMACR) is a protein, which tends to be more expressed in patients with prostate cancer.
  • Urine analysis
  • Prostate fluid testing
  • Prostate biopsy

Sure, many men will avoid getting ongoing healthcare and avoid going to their doctors regularly – until it’s too late. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, do yourself a favor and contact your doctor for an appointment.

Education should accompany prostate screening, new guidelines say –

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

New guidelines for prostate cancer screening were issued Wednesday, March 3, 2010, by the American Cancer Society.  In reporting on these ‘changes,’ the L.A. Times, reminds us that “prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer, affecting 192,000 men each year and killing 27,000.”

In essence, these appear to be the significant features of these new guidelines: (1) physicians should better educate men about both the risks and benefits of using the PSA test for screening; (2) less use of a rectal exam for screening; and (3) a cutback in the use of “mass screening” for prostate cancer such as at community health fairs, community centers, and the like.  

Several recent studies have suggested that large numbers of tumors identified by PSA screening are inconsequential and that biopsies and treatment produce more harm than those tumors would.

The L.A. Times quotes Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who said the new guidelines were not that different from those issued in 1997 and 2001.  They are more a change in emphasis of informed consent to patients and direction to health care providers, who do such screening, to inform those patients of the relative risks and complications (of unnecessary treatment) associated with screening.

Now, Dr. Brawley added, “we have two clinical trials that very vividly illustrate the uncertainties associated with screening,” which makes it even more important for men contemplating the PSA tests to understand the risks. Those major trials showed that PSA screening does not lower the risk of death from prostate cancer and might actually increase it slightly, perhaps from unnecessary treatments.

The risks are not in the screening procedures themselves (PSA and/or rectal exam); they lie in what follows from screening – biopsies, radiation, prostactectomies and other forms of treatment.  The goal of the new guidelines – a better educated patient on the relative risks and complications  of screening and the resultant treatment that may follow (e.g. urinary incontinence and impotency) – is not embraced by all in the spheres of medicine and patient health.

Skip Lockwood, president of Zero — The Project to End Prostate Cancer, said that calls to end the digital rectal exam were “kind of nuts. . . . The whole concept that you would do anything to reduce the amount of information you have does not make sense to me.”

From the specialists in urology, there is also this admonition:

Dr. S. Adam Ramin, a urological oncology specialist at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, said that the cancer society guidelines placed too much emphasis on whether the tests saved lives and not enough on whether they prevented complications from tumors, such as leaking of urine, incontinence, bone pain, anemia and weight loss.

“Although it is true that treatment will not necessarily save a lot of lives, it does prevent complications,” he said.

While the American Cancer Society is not advocating the termination of prostate cancer screening by any means, it is expressing a very worthwhile concern – are patients who are screened and advised of positive test results fully aware of the risks involved in treatment as well as the benefits (lessening of tumor complications, for example) when making potential life-altering decisions about treatment options?   The bottom line – have the test, get your results but understand in a meaningful way what your options are and what risks you run  - THEN decide.

Education should accompany prostate screening, new guidelines say –