Prostate Cancer Blog for Wives and Partners

The Prostate Cancer Blog for Wives and Partners lets you know when new information has been added to our site. Anytime a new page is created — or we feel there is something worth noting — it will be posted here.

Archive of older posts


Study: Link Between Smoking and Prostate Cancer

We’ve known for decades that smoking of any form isn’t healthy, but now cigarette smoking has been associated with twice the risk of prostate cancer recurrence in a retrospective study of 6,538 men (2,238 had never smoked, 2086 were former smokers, and 2214 were current smokers) who had radical prostatectomy, according to researchers at the Medical University of Vienna. Even ex-smokers had this higher risk, but researchers said the effects were mitigated in men who had quit for 10 years or longer. None of the men received other treatments before surgery, such as radiation, hormone treatment, or chemotherapy. Their cancer also had not metastasized (spread) when they were first diagnosed. Results of the study (Rieken et al) appeared online in the June issue of European Urology. June 23, 2015.

Chemotherapy: No Longer A Last-resort Treatment?

Chemotherapy may be an earlier option for men with high-risk, localized prostate cancer, according to research that was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting. There have been several trials (CHAARTED, STAMPEDE, and the recent RTOG 0521) that have led researchers to suggest that using docetaxel may have greater benefit if it is used earlier in men with non-metastatic prostate cancer that is potentially curable. This is exciting news for men who experience a rise in PSA following primary or even secondary treatment whose cancer is still believed to be localized. While some are expressing concerns about toxicity of docetaxel and the robustness of the RTOG 0521 trial, we hope that this will spur larger clinical trials where earlier use of chemotherapy with hormone treatment is stringently studied. June 21, 2015.

Emotionally Distressed Men May Choose Prostate Cancer Surgery

The more emotionally distressed a man feels about his prostate cancer, the more likely he may be to choose more aggressive treatment even if he has lower-risk disease, according to a study (Orom et al) led by the University of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Researchers assessed 1,050 men with clinically localized prostate cancer. Lack of confidence in deciding how to treat prostate cancer, fear that cancer would spread, and threat to masculinity were all factors that led to greater emotional distress. In a perfect world, physicians should factor in emotional distress when counseling patients and caregivers. The study has not yet been published, but results first appeared online in Psychooncology in the beginning of the year. June 13, 2015.

Survey: Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer Often Ignore Symptoms

Nearly 7 in 10 men sometimes ignore their symptoms of prostate cancer, according to a recent Harris Poll survey that was commissioned by Bayer HealthCare and a partnership of prostate cancer patient support groups. More than 410 men with advanced prostate cancer and 95 caregivers revealed that 39% of men surveyed waited to tell their healthcare team about symptoms they were experiencing, even though more than half (52%) associated symptoms like pain with their prostate cancer getting worse. One in 5 men experienced pain for one year or longer prior to a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. Why don’t men speak up? One in 5 men (22%) reported they feel weak talking about their pain and 55% feel it’s just something they have to live with. Interestingly, caregivers had differing opinions on the impact of advanced prostate cancer on men’s lives. The most common advanced prostate cancer symptoms experienced by survey respondents with cancer that spread to their bones included fatigue, pain or aches in specific areas, general all-over-body pain or aches, numbness or weakness, difficulty sleeping as a result of pain, anxiety or distress as a result of pain, and difficulty doing normal activities. The symptoms of advanced prostate cancer are the focus of a new Men Who Speak Up educational initiative and website, which is designed to get men to speak to their doctors about treatment. June 11, 2015.

Study: Western Diet Leads to Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer-Related Death

We know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent prostate cancer. Now researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are reporting that men with prostate cancer who eat a Western diet high in red and processed meats, high-fat dairy foods, and refined grains had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer-related death. Researchers (Meng et al) followed 926 men with prostate cancer over an average of 14 years after their diagnosis. Men who ate prudently had a 36% lower risk of death from all causes. Eating prudently means making healthier choices, such as fresh fruit over cupcakes, steamed broccoli instead of French fries, broiled fish rather than grilled filet mignon, and whole-grain foods over sugary cereals. The results of study were published in the June 1 online journal Cancer Prevention Research. June 4, 2015.

What Implications Do Your Psychological Traits Have on Your Partners’ Emotional Responses?

The Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield is conducting research into how partners’ psychological traits might impact on how people with cancer feel about themselves. You and your spouse/partner can participate as a pair, but you must complete a survey separately. The study involves filling out a series of short questionnaires and will take approximately 15 minutes. All responses are anonymous and will be treated confidentially. For every couple that participates, £1 will be donated to Worldwide Cancer Research. Learn more here (enter the password: sheffpsy). May 22, 2015.

Study: Chemotherapy Plus Immunotherapy Promising for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Combing chemotherapy with immunotherapy (now called chemoimmunotherapy), achieved near complete remission in mouse models of advanced prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. The results of this study (Font-Burgada et al) were published in the April 29 edition of Nature. May 5, 2015.

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Study: Regaining Normal Sexual Function “Rare” After Surgery

A new study reports that men rarely regain normal sexual function after radical prostatectomy (RP). This was a small study of 210 men who completed a questionnaire nearly two years after surgery. Only 6.7% of men (14) reported having erectile function as good as it was before surgery. Why is this news coming just now? The researchers suggest that men were being asked the wrong question concerning erectile function. What we’d like to see is a much larger study of thousands of men that addresses this question at 2, 3, and 4 years years after surgery. We’d also like to know whether all of these men had traditional RP and used different surgeons. The results of the study were presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Madrid (this was first reported by Science Daily). March 31, 2015.

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Smoking Increases Prostate Cancer Recurrence After Surgery

Men who currently smoke, or have stopped smoking less than a decade ago, have twice the risk of prostate cancer recurrence following radical prostatectomy. This comes from new research presented at the European Association of Urology conference in Madrid, as reported by Medical News Today. Researchers in a retrospective study followed 7,191 men for an average of 28 months. About one third of men were smokers, another third never smoked, and another third were former smokers. Even those men who quit smoking in the last 10 years had a significantly higher risk of their cancer coming back. Another good reason to stomp out smoking! March 24, 2015.

Chemotherapy With Cabazitaxel Shows Promise

We know that chemotherapy with docetaxel is effective in men with prostate cancer who no longer respond to hormone treatment. Now a newer member of the taxane family of chemotherapy drugs called cabazitaxel is showing promise, according to a new study published online in Clinical Cancer Research. Researchers found that cabazitaxel was more effective than docetaxel against hormone-resistant, human prostate cancer cell lines in laboratory studies. Testing in actual humans is needed. What we would love to see is a study about the effectiveness of chemotherapy as an early treatment for advanced prostate cancer before hormone therapy. The protocol has always been chemotherapy following hormone therapy failure. But could early chemotherapy following a PSA rise after surgery and/or radiation be more effective or even curative? February 21, 2015.

MRI-guided Prostate Biopsies: Are They Better?

There is a growing body of evidence (see the abstracts of current studies in the link below) that MRI-guided prostate biopsies may be more accurate in detecting prostate cancer than traditional transrectal ultrasound biopsies. Unfortunately, no current method of detecting prostate cancer is 100% accurate. Talk to your doctor and your insurance company as MRI-guided biopsies may be more expensive. February 19, 2015.

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Prostate Cancer Treatment For Women?

An interesting tidbit for wives/partners: a new study has demonstrated that combining high doses of Lupron Depot with Aricept helped stabilize memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a study of 109 women over a one-year period. Lupron Depot is a common type of hormone therapy for men with prostate cancer and Aricept is a drug commonly used to treat Alzheimer's disease. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. January 24, 2015.

Eat Your Broccoli

It is fairly well established that the compound sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables (the mustard family of plants) like broccoli, can help prevent cancer. Now researchers at Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology are working to determine if it can be used to help treat advanced prostate cancer. According to an article published in the journal Oncogenesis, sulforaphane is a “promising molecule for development as a therapeutic agent" for men with metastatic prostate cancer. A clinical trial is being conducted to determine the effectiveness of sulforaphane supplements. January 22, 2015

“Liquid Biopsy:” Will it Transform Prostate Cancer Detection?

Researchers have demonstrated a way to detect “cell-free” tumor DNA in the bloodstream, which may change the way cancers are detected, according to Vanderbilt University. It may also be used to help predict treatment results and how men respond to prostate cancer treatment. In a retrospective study, DNA was extracted from blood samples from more than 204 men with prostate cancer and compared to 207 men without the disease (called normal controls). The results of the study were published in the January issue of Clinical Chemistry. Using this new method — which is being called a “liquid biopsy” — researchers detected prostate cancer from the normal controls with an accuracy rate of 84%. The accuracy rate was even higher (90%, according to the published study abstract) for distinguishing prostate cancer from benign hyperplasia and prostatitis. Unlike a traditional biopsy, this method quantifies the inherent chromosomal instability of cancer and can be followed over time. It would certainly be a welcome change from an invasive biopsy, which can be quite uncomfortable for men. January 6, 2015.

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Before Biopsy: Swabbing Reduced Infections

Simple rectal swab cultures to test for drug-resistant “bugs” like Escherichia coli (E. coli.) can help prevent infections following prostate cancer biopsy, according to a study by Rhode Island Hospital researchers, which was recently published in Urology. These researchers found that about 12.8 percent of men had preexisting, drug-resistant E. coli. There was a 1 percent lower likelihood of post-biopsy infections (1.9 percent vs. 2.9 percent) and a decreased adjusted risk of infectious complications in men who received prophylaxis antimicrobial treatment based on pre-biopsy rectal swab culture results. December 11, 2014.

Always consult a medical professional.

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