Who Are Good Candidates

The best candidates for surgery are younger men whose cancer is in a relatively early stage. An example would be a man in his fifties with a cancer detected by PSA, not yet palpable on rectal exam, and a Gleason score of 5 or 6. One study reported that ''men 50 years old or younger had significantly lower recurrence rates than did older men'' and that recurrence rates increased with the age of the patient at the time of surgery.1 Younger men with prostate cancer are much more likely to be...

On Being Diagnosed

In the timeline of our memories, major tragedies stand out as spikes. Most people remember clearly what they were doing when they learned that hijacked airliners had crashed into the World Trade Center. Those of us who are old enough can pinpoint precisely where we were when we heard that President Kennedy had been shot. Being diagnosed with prostate cancer is comparable. I was sitting at my desk at the Stanley Medical Research Institute at 10 a.m. on May 4, 2004. The immediate problem was how...

Hormone Treatment

Testosterone, the male sex hormone produced by the testicles, stimulates the growth of prostate cancers. It was discovered more than a century ago that surgical removal of the testicles castration improves symptoms for men with advanced prostate cancer. Charles Huggins, a urologist at the University of Chicago, undertook experiments in 1941 to bring about the same effect by giving men with prostate cancer female sex hormones to block testosterone. This work, which in essence produces a chemical...

Watchful Waiting

Prostate cancers are, in general, among the slowest-growing human cancers. Since they usually occur in men who are middle-aged or older, the question arises whether the cancer will kill you before you die from something else. Several studies have examined the natural course of prostate cancer in men who were not treated. Most were carried out in Scandinavian countries, where medical follow-up is excellent and where it is customary to treat prostate cancer much more conservatively than in the...

The Anatomy and Function of the Prostate Gland

Michelangelo's David notwithstanding, the anatomy of the human male leaves a lot to be desired. Our organs of reproduction and recreation are hopelessly intertwined with our organs of liquid waste disposal. As one observer facetiously noted, ''Only a Civil Engineer could have designed the body since who else would design a waste disposal line through a recreational area ''1 Sitting in the center of this anatomical assemblage is the prostate, a reddish-brown organ approximately an inch and a...

Pcspes A Cautionary Tale

The most popular herbal treatment for prostate cancer has been PC-SPES, the name being an abbreviation of prostate cancer and the Latin word for hope. It was commercially available from 1996 until 2002, when its manufacturer, BotanicLab in Brea, California, abruptly shut down. At the time, it was estimated that approximately ten thousand men with prostate cancer were taking PC-SPES and a bottle of sixty capsules was selling for 108. The recommended dose ranged from six to twelve capsules per...

Herbal Therapies

Herbs are seed plants whose stems wither after each growing season. Herbal therapies are especially attractive to men with prostate cancer, in that they are widely used in China, where the incidence of prostate cancer is very low. Many men assume, therefore, that some cause-and-effect relationship must exist. Herbs are generally considered to be natural, pure, and safe, although this is not always the case. Advocates point out that a quarter of all existing medications, including digitalis and...

Subtract 2 if you had addon adjuvant radiation treatment

Your chances that your cancer will recur, as measured by rising PSA five years following surgery, are shown in Table 7. Additional nomograms, developed by Michael Kattan and his colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, are widely used by physicians and are commonly referred to as Kat-tan tables.4 The nomograms utilize information such as size of the cancer and evidence of invasion at surgery, or radiation dose and length of radiation therapy. A major...

Urinary Incontinence The Solutions

The good news about urinary incontinence caused by treatment for prostate cancer is that in most cases the problem improves over time. This is especially true of incontinence due to surgery, which initially may be a serious difficulty. Most studies suggest that incontinence continues to be a long-term major problem for approximately 5 to 10 percent of men treated for prostate cancer but can be improved with help. Table 6. UCLA Prostate Cancer Index for Urinary Function 1. Over the LAST 4 WEEKS,...

Evaluation of Books About Prostate Cancer

The following, listed alphabetically by author, are assessments of forty-seven books about prostate cancer published in the past seven years (asterisks indicate those I have found most valuable). Also included are a few volumes published earlier that are of special interest. Books on prostate health in general are not included. Alterowitz, Ralph, and Alterowitz, Barbara. The Lovin' Ain't Over The Couples Guide to Better Sex After Prostate Disease. Westbury, N.Y. Health Education Literary...