One out of six men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime - that means a lot of men with residual erectile dysfunction as one of the unfortunate outcomes of some of the treatments. So new breakthroughs may mean not only saving lives - but improving the quality of lives - by reducing this negative outcome.
- (1) Men who have regular prostate cancer screening (rectal exam) should talk to their doctor about taking Proscar to prevent prostate cancer, especially if there is a family history of the disease which would put them at even higher risk.
- (2) Consider having a baseline PSA test at age 40 and then if it is normal the next should be at age 45, and then if normal, start regular screenings at age 50. If at age 40 or 45 you get a PSA level higher than 0.9 - you should screen annually from that point on. Your doctor will also compare the test from age 40 and age 45 and if there was a significant change, he may recommend yearly tests thereafter. With regards to having levels done after age 75 - you should talk to your doctor - but if you are a healthy male with no serious disease and with many predicted healthy active years ahead, continuing routine screenings is reasonable.
- (3) If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, ask your doctor about using a nomogram (a computer-based prostate cancer predictor tool that takes into account a number of factors that determine likely outcome). The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website offers downloadable nomograms (www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/10088.cfm)
•(4) Patients with low-grade cancers had significantly lower recurrence rates when they were operated on by skilled surgeons who did lots of these surgeries on a regular basis. If less skilled surgeons perform the surgery, the recurrence rate jumped significantly. Know your surgeon - his degrees - his skill level and especially how many surgeries like this he does daily/weekly.
- (5) If you are post radical prostatectomy and you do experience a recurrence of the cancer, the latest studies now confirm that even if the cancer is "fast growing' and you have an escalating PSA - you should strongly consider radiation to save your life. (This recommendation evolved out of a very new study)
- (6) If you have heard about "high intensity focused ultrasound" which is being offered in other countries like Canada and Mexico - be aware that there simply isn't enough clinical data to say whether this treatment is effective or even safe long term.
Published On: September 29, 2008