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


Another Good Reason to Try to Lose Weight

Men who have a greater body mass index (or BMI, which is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight) have significantly higher rates of biochemical recurrence — the medical term for a rise in PSA — of prostate cancer after having a radical prostatectomy. This is the result of a study (Hayashi et al) of 703 Japanese men that was published in the May online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. In a larger study of 1,415 men five years ago, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that obesity increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer recurrence, whether he is African American or white. August 19, 2014.

Hold the Folate?

High blood levels of folate may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published in the May online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. The Australian study authors (Tio et al) conducted a systematic review and quantitative meta analysis (in plain English: they reviewed published studies on four electronic databases, including PubMed and Medline). Folate (also called folic acid) is a fancy word for a B vitamin. Interestingly, the authors found that dietary folate — which you can get from leafy foods like spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, and broccoli — did not appear to be significantly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Since the jury is still out on this, your best bet is to check with your doctor before consuming large quantities of folate through food or store-bought supplements. August 17, 2014.

Study: Vasectomy Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

Researchers (Siddiqui et al) who conducted the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the U.S. are reporting that vasectomy is associated with a small increase in the risk of lethal prostate cancer. Researchers followed 49,405 men over a period of 24 years. A quarter of the men (12,321) — who ranged in age from 40 to 75 years when the study started — had undergone a vasectomy. Of that number, 6,023 men were eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer. The results of the study were published in the July 7 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. July 21, 2014.

Bicycling and Prostate Cancer: Facts and Fallacies

Some media outlets have been reporting that men who ride their bicycles more than nine hours a week are more likely to develop prostate cancer. That’s the fallacy. Researchers (Hollingworth et al) from University College in London examined the cycling habits of 5,282 men by conducting an online survey. Researchers reported that the risk of prostate cancer in men over age 50 increased as the hours a week they cycled (from less than 3.75 hours up to over 8.5 hours) increased. That’s the fact, but it may be that these men were simply more health conscious and were more likely to be diagnosed. This kind of association cannot be interpreted as a cause and effect. You need a controlled clinical trial that compares cyclists with men who do not cycle. PubMed Health states that 1.8% of men over age 50 reported they had prostate cancer, but this number was not included in the published study. Researchers also found that cycling had no effect on erectile dysfunction or infertility. The results of the study appear in the June issue of the Journal of Men’s Health. July 18, 2014.

Depression Affects Prostate Cancer Outcomes

Men with intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer who are also diagnosed with depression are less likely to seek surgery or radiation treatment for their disease, which results in poorer survival outcomes. This news comes from a study by Prasad et al, which was published in the July 7 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers looked at medical data of 41,275 men who had depressive disorder that was diagnosed in the two years prior to their diagnosis of localized prostate cancer. These men were older, white or Hispanic, unmarried, lived in nonmetropolitan areas, and had a lower median income. They also had other health problems. July 17, 2014.

Study Confirms Hormone Therapy Is Ineffective Primary Treatment

Researchers at Rutgers University have found that men with prostate cancer who used hormone therapy (also known as androgen depravation therapy or ADT) as primary treatment — without surgery or radiation — did not experience improved outcomes in a new study that followed 66,000 men on Medicare, as reported by the Newark Star Ledger. Men who were treated with ADT alone did not live any longer than men who received no treatment. While this is not a startling revelation, it is an important confirmation for older men who may be too frail for surgery, but do not want to undergo radiation therapy. July 16, 2014.

Study: Exercise Improves Sex Life

Exercising twice a week for three months helped improve sexual function by 50% in men following treatment for prostate cancer, according to Australian researchers at Edith Cowan University. Unfortunately, they did not provide any additional information about the study, such as how many men participated or how long they exercised each day. We reached out to the contact for media, but received no reply. July 15, 2014.

Enzalutamide Before Chemotherapy Reduces Cancer Progression Risk

Oregon Health and Science University has reported that enzalutamide (brand name Xtandi®) helped stopped disease progression in men with late-stage prostate cancer who did not yet receive chemotherapy. The results of the Knight Cancer Institute study (Beer et al) were presented at ASCO and published in the June 1 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Use of enzalutamide before chemotherapy cut the risk of disease progression by 81% in the PREVAIL trial of 1,717 men with metastatic prostate cancer that was getting worse despite hormone therapy. In this double-blind Phase II study, 872 men received enzalutamide while the other men got placebo (no medication). There was a 29% reduction in the risk of death and spread of cancer to the bone was prevented in the group that received enzalutamide. The drug was also proven to delay the need for chemotherapy. July 8, 2014.

Study: Radiation Therapy and Secondary Cancers

We strive to remain neutral when reporting prostate cancer news, but every once in a while you read results from a study that just make you scratch your head. The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center is reporting that men with prostate cancer who receive radiation therapy are more likely to develop secondary bladder or rectal cancer than the general public. What a surprise. They also report that overall the incidence of these cancers is low. June 5, 2014.

Study: Docetaxel Extends Life In Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Receiving the chemotherapy drug docetaxel before waiting for hormone therapy to become resistant helped men with newly diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer live a year or longer, according to a new study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that was presented at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. The study followed 790 men who were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and were randomized to receive hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy with docetaxel over 18 weeks. At the median follow-up of 29 months, 136 men in the hormone-only group had died compared to 101 men in the group who received both drugs. The addition of docetaxel also delayed disease progression. June 3, 2014.

Study: Low Testosterone and Men with Low-risk Prostate Cancer

Low testosterone may be an indicator of worsening disease in men with low-risk prostate cancer, according to a new study (Ignacio et al), which was published in the early online version of the May 4th edition of BJUI International. The study followed 154 men with low-risk prostate cancer who were on active surveillance (also known as watchful waiting). Men with free testosterone levels <0.45 ng/dL had a higher rate of disease classification than men with levels greater than or equal to 0.45 ng/dL. The study authors suggest that low testosterone levels may be associated with more aggressive prostate cancer. May 22, 2014.

Specialty Bias in Treatment Recommendations

We’ve always stated that treatment recommendations tend to be biased based on the specialist you work with. Now it’s been proven by a national survey. Kim et al randomly sent a self-administered survey to 1,366 specialists. Not surprisingly, urologists were more likely to recommend surgery than radiation oncologists. And radiation oncologists were more likely to recommend radiation therapy than urologists. Both specialists prefer the treatments they offer, believe they are more effective, and lead to a better quality of life. It is always good to keep this in the back of your mind when you are interviewing specialists. You can read the published results of the survey in the May edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease. May 20, 2014.

Study: Link Between Vitamin D Levels and Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Once heralded as the wonder drug, vitamin D has lost favor among some in recent years. Now a new study (Murphy et al) that appears online in the May 1 edition of Clinical Cancer Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is an indicator of aggressive prostate cancer. Researchers followed 667 men, ages 40 to 79, who were going to have a biopsy for prostate cancer following an abnormal PSA test or digital rectal exam (DRE). Within that group, 273 men were African-American (AA), 275 were European American (EA), and 168 men from each group were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The EA men who had low levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D levels less than 12 ng/ml) had 3.66 times greater odds of having aggressive cancer (Gleason grade of 4+4 or higher) and the AA men had 4.89 times greater odds. The chance of having a tumor stage of T2b or higher was 2.42 times greater in the EA men and 4.22 times greater in the AA men. May 18, 2014.

Study: Statin Protection Against Prostate Cancer Recurrence

More good news about statins: men with prostate cancer who started taking these cholesterol-lowering drugs after radical prostatectomy were 36% less likely to experience a recurrence of their prostate cancer. In this retrospective analysis, Duke Medicine researchers followed 1,146 men who had prostate cancer surgery over a median period of six years. In the group of 400 men who took statins after surgery, 65 had a recurrence of cancer. In the group of 746 men who never took statins, 337 men had a recurrence of cancer. In a secondary analysis, however, the protective effect from statin use was only statistically significant in men who were not African American. You can find the results of the study (Allott et al) online in the early view of the BJU International for May 8. May 17, 2014.

First Dogs, Now Electronic Noses to Sniff Out Prostate Cancer

A new device using an electronic nose may make it easier to provide early diagnosis of prostate cancer, according to researchers from Finland (Roine et al) in a paper published in advance online that will appear in the July issue of the Journal of Urology. In an early proof of principle study, an electronic nose called the eNose discriminated between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by “sniffing” the space directly above a urine sample. The researchers state that the eNose results are comparable to PSA testing, as reported in previous literature. Further studies need to be conducted before this device can be approved for use as an effective diagnostic tool. May 15, 2014.

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