Category Archives: prostate cancer

How Shift Work Disrupts Metabolism

This time it’s personal. A hundred years ago, it seems (actually it was 1977), I worked for Reuters News Service. I had the good fortune, I thought, of being sent to London to experience the international news desk. That turned out to be a wonderful educational as well as professional experience. However, part of my deal was that since I was the Yank who was only there for a year, they used me to fill every staffing vacancy that came up. As a result I often worked two or three different shifts in a week. I have to tell you that I have never felt so discombobulated in my life. I would wake up and not know if it was morning or night. All my body rhythms got fried. So, I really related to the following study.

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Researchers report metabolic disruptions often seen in shift workers are not influenced by the brain’s circadian rhythm, but by peripheral oscillators in the liver, gut and pancreas. Source: Washington State University.

Working night shifts or other nonstandard work schedules increases your risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes and other metabolic disorders, which ultimately also raises your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Exactly why this happens has been unclear, but a new study conducted at Washington State University (WSU) has brought scientists closer to finding the answer. Continue reading

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Filed under brain, brain function, brain health, cancer, prostate cancer, shift work

When screening for disease, risk is as important to consider as benefits – study

Physicians and patients like to believe that early detection of cancer extends life, and quality of life. If a cancer is present, you want to know early, right? Maybe not.

An analysis of cancer screenings by a University of Virginia statistician and a researcher at the National Cancer Institute indicates that early diagnosis of a cancer does not necessarily result in a longer life than without an early diagnosis. And screenings – such as mammograms for breast cancer and prostate-specific antigen tests for prostate cancer – come with built-in risks, such as results mistakenly indicating the presence of cancer (false positives), as well as missed diagnoses (false negatives). Patients may undergo harsh treatments that diminish quality of life while not necessarily extending it.

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Yet the benefits of early diagnosis through screening often are touted over the risks.

“It is difficult to estimate the effect of over-diagnosis, but the risk of over-diagnosis is a factor that should be considered,” said Karen Kafadar, a UVA statistics professor and co-author of a study being presented Sunday at a session of the 2017 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “How many diagnosed cases would never have materialized in a person’s lifetime, and gone successfully untreated? Treatments sometimes can cause harm, and can shorten life or reduce quality of life.”

Kafadar is not advocating against screening, but her findings show that frequent screening comes with its own risks. As a metric for evaluation, reduction in mortality is considered the standard. So if a disease results in 10 deaths per 100,000 people in a year, and screening reduces the deaths to six per 100,000 people, then there seems to be an impressive 40 percent reduction in mortality.

However, a more meaningful metric, Kafadar said, may be: “How much longer can a person whose case was screen-detected be expected to live, versus a case that was diagnosed only after clinical symptoms appeared?” This issue becomes harder to discern – how long a patient survives after a diagnosis versus how long the patient might have lived anyway. Some cancer cases might never become apparent during a person’s lifetime without screening, but with screening might be treated unnecessarily, such as for a possibly non-aggressive cancer. And some aggressive forms of disease may shorten life even when caught early through screening.

Kafadar and her collaborator, National Cancer Institute statistician Philip Prorok, gathered long-term data from several study sources, including health insurance plans and the National Cancer Institute’s recently completed long-term randomized control trial on prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer, to consider several factors affecting the value of screening – over-diagnosis, lead time on a diagnosis and other statistical distortions – to look at not just how many people die, but also life extension.

“People die anyway of various causes,” Kafadar said, “but most individuals likely are more interested in, ‘How much longer will I live?’ Unfortunately, screening tests are not always accurate, but we like to believe they are.”

Because the paper considers together the factors that affect statistical understanding of the effectiveness of screening, rather than looking at each of these factors in isolation as previous studies have done, it offers a new statistical methodology for teasing out the relative effects of cancer screening’s benefits and risks.

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Filed under breast cancer, cancer, cancer screening, prostate cancer

Is Exercise one way of beating prostate cancer?

A new study suggests that exercise may reduce Caucasian men’s risk of developing prostate cancer. And among Caucasian men who do have prostate cancer, exercise may reduce their risk of having more serious forms of the disease. Unfortunately, the benefits do not seem to apply to African-American men. The study is published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Blue man running

Silhouette of a man and skeleton running on motionblurred background

The Daily Mail reporting on this, said, “Just 5 hours a week can boost survival chances by a THIRD
•    Experts tracked 10,000 men with prostate cancer in the US for 10 years
•    Moderate activities like cycling made patients 34 per cent less likely to die
•    Regular walking can help ward off cancer but has no effect after diagnosis
•    Suggests treatment which includes exercise is key to beating the disease”

Previous research has linked exercise to a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. Studies have also revealed that African-American men have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer and of dying from the disease compared with Caucasians. It is not clear if exercise as a function of race plays any role in these disparities. Continue reading

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Moscow Scientists Find Molecules Most Capable of Fighting Prostate Cancer

I’m a guy and I worry about prostate cancer. Here are some reasons why:
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2016 are:
•    About 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer
•    About 26,120 deaths from prostate cancer
•    About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.

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So, I was very interested in the following report from Moscow:
Scientists from MIPT (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology), MSU (Moscow State University), and National University of Science and Technology “MISIS” provided an overview of the most promising compounds which can be used as medications for prostate cancer. The article was published in the Journal of Drug Targeting. Continue reading

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Cancer Diagnosis Can Take Toll on Mental Health

The most common mental disorders affecting cancer patients were anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders, according to the study. Adjustment disorders occur when a person cannot cope with a life crisis, and are unable to function on a daily basis or maintain relationships with those around them, Mehnert said.

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One out of three people diagnosed with cancer also wind up struggling with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, a new study from Germany reports.

Many people seem to cope with the natural stress of a cancer diagnosis, but for about 32 percent of cancer patients, the diagnosis may prompt a full-blown psychological disorder, said study lead author Anja Mehnert, a professor of psychosocial oncology at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

That’s much higher than the 20 percent mental disorder rate of the general population, she said. It’s important to note that although the study strongly links cancer and a mental health disorders, it wasn’t designed to prove that having cancer directly caused any mental health disorders.

“[Our] findings reinforce that, as doctors, we need to be very aware of signs and symptoms of mental and emotional distress,” Mehnert said. “We must encourage patients to seek…

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Fighting Prostate Cancer with A Tomato-rich Diet

Tomatoes and its products – such as tomato juice and baked beans – were shown to be most beneficial, with an 18 per cent reduction in risk found in men eating over 10 portions a week. This is thought to be due to lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage.

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Men who eat over 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests.

With 35,000 new cases every year in the UK, and around 10,000 deaths, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide.

Rates are higher in developed countries, which some experts believe is linked to a Westernised diet and lifestyle.

To assess if following dietary and lifestyle recommendations reduces risk of prostate cancer, researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford looked at the diets and lifestyle of 1,806 men aged between 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared with 12,005 cancer-free men.

The NIHR-funded study, published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is the first study of its kind to develop a prostate cancer ‘dietary index’ which consists of dietary components – selenium, calcium and foods rich in…

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New Method for Prostate Cancer Detection Can Save Millions of Men Painful Examination

The use of the new method, which has been patented by TU/e, can avoid the need for biopsies to be taken from millions of men around the world. The procedure will no longer be necessary for a large part of the 70% of men from whom biopsies are currently taken unnecessarily.

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A prostate image generated with the new technique. The red area indicates the tumor.

Each year prostate tissue samples are taken from over a million men – in most cases using 12 large biopsy needles – to check whether they have prostate cancer. This procedure, which was recently described by an American urology professor as ‘barbaric’1, shows that 70% of the subjects do not have cancer. A patient-friendly examination, which drastically reduces the need for biopsies has been developed at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), together with AMC Amsterdam.

Hundreds of thousands of men die each year from prostate cancer. The standard procedure used worldwide for prostate cancer examinations starts with measurement of the PSA (prostate specific antigen) value in the blood. If this is high, physicians will usually remove samples of prostate tissue through the anus at six to sixteen points for pathological examination. However, 70% of the subjects…

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You Are What You Eat: Low-fat Diet Changes Prostate Cancer Tissue

“These studies are showing that in men with prostate cancer, you really are what you eat,” Aronson said. “The studies suggest that by altering the diet, we may favorably affect the biology of prostate cancer.”

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Men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet and took fish oil supplements had lower levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their blood and a lower cell cycle progression score — a measure used to predict cancer recurrence — than men who ate a typical Western diet, UCLA researchers found.

The findings are important because lowering the cell cycle progression (CCP) score may help prevent prostate cancers from becoming more aggressive, said lead study author William Aronson, a clinical professor of urology at UCLA and chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“We found that CCP scores were significantly lower in the prostate cancer of men who consumed the low-fat fish oil diet, as compared to men who followed a higher-fat Western diet,” Aronson said. “We also found that men on the low-fat fish oil diet had reduced blood levels of pro-inflammatory substances that…

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Low-grade Prostate Cancers May Not Become Aggressive With Time — Adds Support for “Watch and Wait” Approach

This study adds more evidence to the argument that patients who are diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancers can opt for an active surveillance, or “watch and wait” approach instead of getting treated right away.

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Prostate cancer aggressiveness may be established when the tumor is formed and not alter with time, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Kathryn Penney, Sc.D.

Researchers found that after the introduction of widespread prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, the proportion of patients diagnosed with advanced-stage cancers dropped by more than six-fold in 22 years, but the proportion diagnosed with high Gleason grade cancers did not change substantially. This suggests that low-grade prostate cancers do not progress to higher grade over time.

Cancer stage refers to the extent or spread of the disease, and cancer grade, called Gleason grade for prostate cancer, refers to the aggressiveness of the disease.

“We were able to look at finely stratified time periods to capture pre-PSA, early-PSA, and late-PSA eras within one study. Over time, because of PSA screening, men have been more likely to…

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