Prostate cancer blog (2012-2013 archive)

For wives and partners

This is the prostate cancer blog archive page for news stories from 2012-2013.  Visit the current blog

Taking Testosterone for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

While it is controversial, some men do turn to testosterone following prostate cancer treatment in an effort to improve ED. The problem is that testosterone fuels prostate cancer. There are other studies that suggest that high levels of estrogen contribute to ED. A study (Kataoka et al) that was published in the May online issue of the International Journal of Impotence Research reports that testosterone treatment in rats did not improve ED caused by high estrogen levels. Important information to consider. December 10, 2013


Mixed Bag About the Benefits of Fish Oil

In September, researchers from the SELECT trial (Brasky et al) warned that men with high levels of fish oil in their blood had an increased risk of developing a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Now a new study by researchers at UCLA reports that men with prostate cancer who followed a low-fat diet and took fish oil supplements (5 grams per day in 5 capsules) had lower levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their blood and a lower cell cycle progression (a measure to help predict cancer recurrence). These results suggest that a low-fat diet and fish oil can actually change prostate cancer tissue, which may help prevent aggressive disease. December 3, 2013

Study Enrollment: Personalized Prostate Cancer Treatments

Advances in genomic sequencing have allowed biomedical companies to develop personalized treatments for a number of diseases. Now a new study from the Mayo Clinic will use genomic sequencing to develop customized treatments for men whose cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy (called castration-resistant prostate cancer). The Prostate Cancer Medically Optimized Genome-Enhanced Therapy (PROMOTE) study will seek to match new targeted drugs with the genomic characteristics of a man’s prostate cancer tumor. Men who are interested in enrolling in the study can call 507-284-3067. December 3, 2013

Warning Signs for Men Undergoing Robotic Assisted Prostate Surgery

A history of infection, previous abdominal surgery, radiation treatment, an enlarged prostate, and prior transurethral resection of the prostate (known as TURP) have been identified as warning signs for potential injury to the urethra during robotic prostatectomies, according to a study published in the Journal of Endourology. Researchers followed 6,442 men who underwent robotic prostatectomy from 2001 to 2013. While the rate of cutting the urethra was only 0.046%, this information may help prevent future injuries. December 1, 2013.

Study: Weight Matters in Prostate Cancer Survival

Men who are of healthy weight are more likely to survive prostate cancer than men who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed, according to a Kaiser Permanente study of 751 men with prostate cancer who had radical prostatectomy that was published in the journal of Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Researchers also found an even stronger correlation between obesity and mortality (death) in men who had more aggressive prostate cancer (Gleason scores of 8 or higher). Men who died from prostate cancer were 50% more likely to be overweight or obese when they were diagnosed compared to men who did not die from the disease. What is unclear is whether the men’s deaths were related to other health problems caused by obesity. We would also like to see more studies to determine whether diet and exercise after after a prostate cancer diagnosis can help a man live longer. October 31, 2013.

Prostate Cancer Sexuality Survey Results Published

Doctor Jo-an Baldwin Peters was kind enough to send us a complimentary copy of her new book: “Prostate Cancer Sexuality Survey Results, Survivor & Partner,” which was a joint project between her and Dr. Joel Funk and Court Brooker, who is a prostate cancer survivor. The book provides charts, tables, and comments that were complied from an online survey that was completed by 448 prostate cancer survivors and 193 partners. One of their findings, which we always stress here, is that there is sexual recovery after prostate cancer, but it takes time. October 29, 2013.

Study: Long-term hormonal radiation therapy

Long-term hormonal therapy after radiation therapy did not improve overall survival in men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, according to results of a secondary analysis of the RTOG 902 prostate cancer trial, which were presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s 55th Annual Meeting. Researchers determined that there were no additional benefits of long-term hormonal therapy compared to short-term hormonal therapy. October 8, 2013.

Study: Walnuts and Prostate Cancer

Eating a modest amount of walnuts a day helped protect against prostate cancer in an animal study, according to researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. Researchers injected human prostate cancer cells into two groups of mice. One group was fed walnuts that were equivalent to a human eating two handfuls a day. Only 3 of the 16 mice that ate walnuts developed prostate tumors compared to 14 of 32 mice that were not fed walnuts. The tumors that did develop in the walnut-eating group of mice were also smaller. August 1, 2013.

Study: Diabetes Drug May Have Prostate Cancer Benefits

New research suggests that a popular type 2 diabetes drug called Metformin may reduce the risk of dying from prostate cancer, as reported by HealthDay News. In a study of nearly 4,000 men with diabetes, those men who were using the drug when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer (median of 19 months) were less likely to die of cancer than men who were taking other diabetes drugs. But researchers need to determine if the drug will work against prostate cancer in men who do not have diabetes. The study was published August 5th in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. August 6, 2013.

So Much For Soy For Prostate Cancer

While we know of one radiation oncologist who recommends soy milk to all his advanced prostate cancer patients, Bosland et al have published results of a study in the July 10, 2013 issue of JAMAthat demonstrated that men at high risk of PSA failure who consumed a beverage powder supplement containing soy protein isolate every day for 2 years following radical prostatectomy did not experience reduced biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer compared to men who took placebo. This was the first randomized study of soy with cancer as the endpoint and the trial was stopped early for lack of treatment effects. Read more at: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1710457. July 16, 2013.

Study: African-American Men May Want To Rethink Active Surveillance

Active surveillance, or watching and waiting, may put African-American men who are diagnosed with very-low-risk prostate cancers at greater risk because they are more likely to have aggressive disease that goes unrecognized with current diagnostic approaches than white men, according to a Johns Hopkins study of more than 1,800 men (1,473 white and 256 African-American) aged 52 to 62, which was published online ahead of the print version in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study also demonstrated that the rate of increased pathologic risk was significantly higher in African-Americans (14.8 percent vs. 6.9 percent). All of the men whose records were analyzed were selected from a group of 19,142 men who had surgery between 1992 and 2012 to remove the prostate gland and some of the tissue around it. July 9, 2012.

Study: Nutrition, Exercise, and Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise may decrease the risk of aggressive prostate cancer, according to a ScienceDaily report about a study of 2,212 men aged 40 to 70 who were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. Adhering to four of the eight World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) lifestyle recommendations predicted a 38% increased risk of aggressive tumors compared to adhering to four or more recommendations. Most notably, eating less than 500 grams (about 17.6 ounces) of red meat per week or less than 125 total kilocalories (1 kilocalorie equals 1,000 calories) per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of food per day were statistically significantly protective against highly aggressive tumors for all subjects in the study. Prostate cancer aggressiveness was measured using Gleason scores, PSA levels, and the TNM cancer staging system. The study was led by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and was published online ahead of the print version of the Journal of Cancer and Nutrition. Visit http://www.wcrf.org/cancer_research/cup/ recommendations.php to see all eight WCRF recommendations. July 8, 2013.

FDA Approves Xofigo

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Xofigo® (radium 223 dichloride) for the treatment of men with castration-resistant prostate cancer, symptomatic bone metastases, and no known visceral metastatic disease (prostate cancer in the organs in the cavities of the body), according to Bayer HealthCare. Xofigo is the first alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent approved by the FDA that demonstrated improvement in overall survival and delay in time to first symptomatic skeletal event compared to placebo in the Phase III ALSYMPCA trial. The first doses are expected to be ready in a few weeks. May 30, 2013.

New Prostate Cancer Test

A new test (Oncotype DX®) that predicts disease aggressiveness and offers information beyond current PSA testing and a biopsy Gleason Score is now available, according to Geonomic Health, Inc. The new test is being hailed as a way to help men with prostate cancer and their doctors choose the most appropriate treatment based on an individualized risk assessment. The test measures the level of expression of 17 genes across four biological pathways to predict prostate cancer aggressiveness. In a validation study of 395 men, information obtained from the test significantly increased the number of men who were identified as having very low risk prostate cancer and were candidates for active surveillance. May 9, 2013.

Study: Intermittent Hormone Therapy vs. Continuous Therapy

Men with metastatic prostate cancer who had on-and-off hormone therapy did not live as long as men who had continuous treatment (5.1 years vs. 5.8 years), according to a University of Michigan Health System press release about a study by Hussain et al that followed 1,535 men for nearly ten years. The study authors concluded, however, that their results were statistically inconclusive because “too few events occurred to rule out significant inferiority of intermittent therapy.” Results of the study were published in the April 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. April 11, 2013.

American College of Physicians Issues New PSA Guidelines

Doctors should inform men ages 50 to 69 years about the limited potential benefits and substantial potential harms of prostate cancer screening, according to "Screening for Prostate Cancer: A Guidance Statement from the American College of Physicians." Learn more at http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1676184.April 11, 2013.

Study: Genetic Condition Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk

Men who have Lynch syndrome — an inherited genetic condition — have a higher lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.  These men also seem to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age.  April 2, 2013.

Study: Women Can Motivate Men to Seek ED Treatment

There are specific ways that women can motivate men to seek professional help for erectile dysfunction (ED), according to a study by Gerster et al, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research. While the study only included twelve couples, it does provide ten recommendations (click on “Info Box 1” near the end of the page) that may be helpful for both supporting and talking to your partner about his ED. March 19, 2013.

Surgery or Radiation for Prostate Cancer: Is One Better Than the Other?

An abstract presented at the 28th Annual EAU Congress in Milan reports that a large Swedish observational study has demonstrated that radical prostatectomy is superior to radiation therapy in men with localized prostate cancer while a long-term study published in the March issue of the Journal of Oncology states that radioactive seed implants is just as effective as radical prostate cancer surgery. Which one should you believe? It’s important to read clinical studies with great discernment, paying close attention to how many men were included in the study, how severe the men’s disease was, and what the study methods were. March 5, 2013.

Study: Fried Food Consumption Linked to Prostate Cancer

Men who ate deep-fried foods more than once a week had an increased risk (30 to 37 percent) of prostate cancer compared to men who ate deep-fried foods once a month, according to a recent Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study. Eating fried foods every week was also associated with a slightly greater risk of more aggressive prostate cancer. Researchers controlled for factors (e.g., age, race, family history of prostate cancer, body-mass index and PSA screening history) when they calculated the association between eating deep-fried foods and prostate cancer risk. They also suggest that potentially carcinogenic compounds can form when oil is heated to temperatures for drying. Reuse of oil and increased frying time are also factors. January 30, 2013.

Study: Influence of Stress on Prostate Cancer Treatment

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have demonstrated that induced stress in mice implanted with human prostate cancer cells negatively affected androgen ablation therapy with the drug bicalutamide. Prostate cancer tumors decreased in size in mice that were kept calm while mice that were subjected to repeated stress did not respond as well to treatment. Stress also accelerated the development of prostate cancer. Researchers believe that adrenaline initiates a cellular reaction that controls cell death, according to a Science News report. The study (by Hassan et al) appears in the January online version of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. January 29, 2013.

Fiber May Play a Fabulous Role in Prostate Cancer

Researchers are suggesting that a high-fiber diet may prevent the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. Science Daily has reported on an animal study in the January 2013 issue of Cancer Prevention Research, which demonstrated that mice fed with a major component of high-fiber diets (called inositol hexaphosphate or IP6) had radically reduced tumor volumes. While promising, human studies are needed. January 10, 2013.

MRI-guided Biopsy for Prostate Cancer

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) used in combination with real-time ultrasound is a more accurate method of detecting prostate cancer, according to a UCLA study published in the online January 2013 issue of The Journal of Urology, as reported by ScienceDaily. Researchers worked with 171 men with elevated PSA scores who were monitoring slow-growing prostate cancers through active surveillance (watchful waiting). It was reported that MRI and ultrasound fusion biopsy was shown to be more accurate than conventional biopsy, may lead to fewer biopsies, and early detection of prostate cancer. December 11, 2012.

Study: Cabozantinib and Metastatic Cancer to the Bone

Improvements in bone scans were reported in approximately two-thirds of patients treated with cabozantinib, according to a new study reported by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Medical News Today is reporting that the drug had the most effect on tumors that spread to a man’s bones, which is a primary site for the spread of prostate cancer. December 6, 2012.

Xtandi® (Enzalutamide) Receives FDA Approval

The FDA has approved Xtandi capsules for men with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer who have previously used the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. In a clinical trial, men who received Xtandi lived nearly five months longer (median overall survival) than men who did not receive the drug (18.4 months vs. 13.6 months), according to a Medivation press release. Xtandi is an oral, once-daily androgen receptor inhibitor. It is expected to cost about $7,450 a month, according to The New York Times . It may also be some time before it is readily available in US pharmacies. September 4, 2012.

Study: Circulating Free Testosterone An Independent Predictor of Advanced Disease

Schnoeller et al have published a study in the online first edition of World Journal of Urology that demonstrated that low levels of free testosterone (<0.047µg/l) in men with localized prostate cancer were significantly associated with higher tumor stage, positive lymph node status, and advanced disease. Researchers measured sex hormone serum levels in 137 men before undergoing radical prostatectomy. The study authors suggest that measuring pre-treatment total testosterone levels in addition, or in combination, with PSA testing may be a useful prognostic parameter for men prior to radical prostatectomy. August 17, 2012

Study: Vaccine Therapy Plus Radiation Not Much Different Than Radiation Alone

Combing external beam radiation therapy with a poxviral vector-based therapeutic vaccine (interleukin-2 (S-IL-2) did not result in significant differences in overall survival, compared to radiation therapy alone, in a small study that followed 36 men with localized prostate cancer for up to six-and-a-half years. The study appears in the September issue of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease (it was first published in the March advance online publication). August 16, 2012

Can No Treatment Be The Best Treatment For Prostate Cancer?

There’s been a lot of press about whether men should opt for active surveillance (also known as watchful waiting) instead of aggressively treating prostate cancer. This morning, a Johns Hopkins health alert arrived stating that: “active surveillance is usually appropriate for men with very low-risk prostate cancer whose estimated life expectancy is less than 20 years.” Johns Hopkins’ prostate cancer experts consider a man to be at very low risk if he has: a stage T1c (PSA-detected) tumor; a Gleason score (the sum of the primary and secondary Gleason grades) of 6 or below; prostate cancer in no more than two biopsy cores with cancer present in 50 percent or less of any core; and PSA density (PSA divided by prostate volume on ultrasound) below 0.15 ng/mL/cc. August 7, 2012

Multiple Biopsies, Robotic Surgery, and Erectile Dysfunction

Men who have multiple biopsies for prostate cancer prior to nerve-sparing robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) may have poorer outcomes for erectile dysfunction, according to a study (Sooriakumaren et al) published in the July/August issue of the International Journal of Impotence Research. Between May 2009 and December 2009, 367 men who had RARP were divided into two groups: men who had a single prostate biopsy and men who had multiple biopsies. Men who had multiple biopsies had poorer erectile function six months after RARP (57% vs 80%). It should be noted that there were only 50 men followed in the single biopsy group, 23 men in the multiple biopsy group, and a single surgeon performed all of the RARPs. It would be interesting to see the outcomes of a similar study for men who have had traditional radical prostatectomy. We also do not think that six months is long enough to measure sexual recovery (which is why we always encourage couples to be patient the first few years following any type of prostate cancer surgery). We would love to know how these men are doing three years after RARP. July 19, 2012

Some Good (And Bad) Affordable Healthcare Act News

The fact that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA) in its entirely gives prostate cancer survivors continued access to affordable health insurance. Unfortunately it puts early detection for prostate cancer at risk, according to a recent ZERO press release. ZERO states that the United States Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) recent recommendation to change prostate cancer to a grade of D discourages men from getting tested for prostate cancer, which may lead private health insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid to stop providing coverage for PSA testing. USPSTF is responsible for establishing the required list of preventive services that both government agencies and private insurance companies must pay for. July 12, 2012

New Prostate Cancer Test

In June, Beckman Coulter, Inc. announced that it had received Premarket Approval (PMA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Prostate Health Index, a simple, non-invasive blood test that they claim is 2.5-times more specific in detecting prostate cancer than prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in patients with PSA values in the 4-10 ng/mL range. They also claim it is proven to reduce the number of biopsies, which will hopefully be substantiated when they release their full clinical data. July 10, 2012

Black Tea and Prostate Cancer Risk?

Over the years, research about the benefits of drinking green tea (an antioxidant) for prostate cancer has resulted in mixed results. Now a new study published in Nutrition and Cancer has linked high consumption of black tea (greater than or equal to 7 cups daily) to risk of men developing prostate cancer. While the media has jumped all over this story, read this excellent response from the "New" Prostate Cancer InfoLink about the limitations of this study. June 26, 2012.

Enzalutamide (MDV3100) Now Available in 10 States as Part of Ongoing Study

Men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who are currently on hormone treatment and have previously received docetaxel-based chemotherapy may be eligible to participate in an ongoing study to provide expanded access to MDV3100 and monitor its safety, according to a mailing we received from the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PRCI). Men in states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Indiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are currently being recruited for this study. It takes several weeks to complete the enrollment and screening process and PRCI suggests that men may be able to speed up the process by providing the clinical trial nurse with their own medical records. June 6, 2012.

News About Abiraterone Acetate Plus Prednisone in Men with Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer

Results observed from pre-specified interim analyses of a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 3 study (COU-AA-302) demonstrated that men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who were treated with abiraterone acetate (brand name ZYTIGA®) plus prednisone showed a statistically significant improvement in radiographic progression-free survival and all secondary endpoints, compared to men who were treated with placebo plus prednisone, according to a press release issued by Janssen Research and Development, LLC, which is part of Johnson & Johnson. These results were announced at the America Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting on June 2. Abiraterone acetate is currently only approved for use in combination with prednisone for the treatment of men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who have received prior chemotherapy containing docetaxel. You can read the full press release at www.investor.jnj.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=679337. June 5, 2012.

Controversy Over PSA Screening Continues

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a statement that it “recommends against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer. This is a grade D recommendation. This recommendation applies to men in the U.S. population that do not have symptoms that are highly suspicious for prostate cancer, regardless of age, race, or family history...” We beg to differ, as do many leading organizations in the prostate cancer community, including the American Urologic Association, Society of Urologic Oncologists, American Society for Radiation Oncology, Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI), American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and others, according to a recent mailing by PCRI. June 5, 2012.

XGEVA® (denosumab) Does Not Receive FDA Approval

The FDA has not approved the use of denosumab to treat men with castration-resistant prostate cancer at high risk of developing bone metastases, according to an Amgen press release. The FDA determined that the effect on bone metastases-free survival was of insufficient magnitude to outweigh the risks (including osteonecrosis of the jaw) of denosumab in the intended population, and requested data from an adequate and well-controlled trial(s) demonstrating a favorable risk-benefit profile for denosumab that is generalizable to the US population. May 3, 2012.

Small High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Study Shows Promise

Although high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is not approved for use in the United States, a small UK study by Ahmed et al, is reporting favorable results in the early online version of The Lancet Oncology. With HIFU, small lumps of cancerous prostate tissue are removed, making it somewhat similar to lumpectomy for breast cancer. Then soundwaves cause targeted tissue to heat up, which kills the cancer cells. Proponents claim that HIFU is extremely accurate, effective, and has fewer side effects than conventional treatments, such as radical prostatectomy. In this study of 42 men, 12 months after starting HIFU treatment (some men had treatment more than once), 40 men had pad-free continence, 31 men (out of 35 who were able to have penetratable intercourse at baseline) were able to maintain erections sufficient for penetration, and 95% of men were free of clinically significant cancer. While promising, much larger, long-term studies need to be conducted. April 17, 2012.

Study: Antifungal Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Antifungal treatment is sometimes used for men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In a recent study by Antonarakis et al, 46 men with CRPC either received 200 mg or 600 mg of daily the antifungal drug itraconazole (the brand name is Sporanox). Results of the study have not yet been published, but were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. MedPage Today reported that men in the high-dose itraconazole group had a progression-free survival (PFS) of 48.4% at 24 weeks versus 11.8% for the men in the 200-mg group. The median PFS was 17 weeks for the high-dose group and 11.9 weeks for the low-dose group. April 12, 2012.

Study: Brachytherapy and Men with Gleason 7 Prostate Cancer

Researchers in British Columbia who compared the records of 1,500 men with prostate cancer (439 men had Gleason 7 disease; 362 men had Gleason 3+4 and 77 men had 4+3 disease) have determined that treatment with I-125 brachytherapy with 6 months of hormone treatment demonstrated excellent biochemical no evidence of disease (using the Phoenix definition of biochemical recurrence, which is nadir PSA + 2.0 ng/mL following brachytherapy) in men with Gleason 7 disease after 5 years. They also found no difference in results between men with Gleason 3+4 or 4+3 disease. These men received I-125 prostate brachytherapy without supplemental external beam radiation therapy and most men also received 6 months of hormone treatment. March 29, 2012.

Canadian Warnings About Finasteride and Dutasteride

Health Canada has issued new safety warnings about Proscar, Avodart, and Jalyn, which are used to treat an enlarged prostate, according to CNC news. Updates to labels for generic forms of these drugs will also be issued. The warnings come on the heels of two international clinical trials, which demonstrated that men aged 50 and older who used 5 mg of finasteride and dutasteride for four years had a small but statistically significant increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer." High-grade prostate cancer grows and spreads more quickly than low-grade prostate cancer. March 20, 2012.

Progensa® Receives FDA Approval

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Progensa® PCA3, Gen-Probe's prostate cancer gene 3 assay, which is the first urine-based molecular test to help determine if men who had a previous biopsy that was negative for prostate cancer need a repeat biopsy. February 23, 2012.

No Expanded Indication for Denosumab

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel has almost unanimously (12 to 1) voted against expanding the indication for denosumab (Xgeva), which would have allowed men with castration-resistant prostate cancer to take the drug to help prevent their cancer from spreading to the bone, according to a MedPage Today news report. FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee concluded that the risks associated with Xgeva did not outweigh the benefit. Xgeva is a fully human monoclonal antibody that binds to RANK Ligand, a protein essential for the formation, function and survival of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone). Xgeva prevents RANK Ligand from activating its receptor, RANK, on the surface of osteoclasts, thereby decreasing bone destruction. It is currently approved to prevent skeletal-related events in men with advanced prostate cancer that has already spread to the bone. February 9, 2012

Study: Robotic-assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy vs Open Radical Prostatectomy is a Draw

Medicare-age men should not expect fewer adverse effects following robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, according to a study by Gallagher et al, which was published online first in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Using 20% of Medicare claims files for August 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008, the study authors sent out a survey to 797 men about 14 months following their surgeries that included self-ratings of problems with continence and sexual function. Of that number, 406 men had robotic-assisted surgery and 220 men had open radical prostatectomy. Robotic-assisted prostatectomy was not associated with greater problems with sexual function, but was associated with a nonsignificant trend toward greater problems with continence. The study authors conclude that risks of problems with continence and sexual function are high after both procedures. The "New" Prostate Cancer Infolink first reported this and provide their excellent analysis here.   January 31, 2012.

MRIs Changed Course of Robotic Surgery

When men undergoing robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the prostate gland prior to their procedures, it changed the surgeon’s decision to use a nerve-sparing technique in 27% of men, according to results from a single-center study, published by McClure, et al in the January 24th online edition of Radiology. January 26, 2012.

Prostate Cancer Online Sexuality Survey Results Now Available

Dr. Jo-an Baldwin Peters (PhD)just contacted me to let me know that results of her independent online sexuality survey for prostate cancer survivors and their partners (and other helpful articles) are now available online. Dr. Baldwin and her fellow research partners conducted the survey as a follow up to her earlier work on how prostate cancer treatments impinge on the sexuality of both partners. You can read the results here.  January 21, 2012.

Why Do Couples Stop Using ED Drugs?

Between 15% to 60% of couples stop using oral medications for erectile dysfunction (ED). Moskovic, et al, conducted 155 interviews to determine why couples stop using them in a study that was published in the International Journal of Impotence Research. Thirty-four percent of men said the main reason to stop taking ED medication was cost. “Partner issues” from the men's perspective were seldom discussed, however, for women, “partner issues” meant a range of problems from separation to alcohol abuse, lack of communication, lack of confidence, or fear of failure. The authors concluded that women had a different perspective on the reasons for stopping the use of ED medications. January 12, 2012.

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