Category Archives: News

The Truth Behind Prostate Cancer Mortality Rates

Researchers from Kings College London recently reported that between 1997 and 2007, prostate cancer was the cause of 49% of deaths in men diagnosed with this disease. When hearing the words “prostate cancer” and quickly looking at that figure of 49%, you might think the disease comes with a very high mortality rate. The way in which this statistic was presented is extremely misleading; it is very easy to misinterpret the claim made as, “49% of men who develop prostate cancer die because of prostate cancer.” When reading the study more closely, we find that of the 50,066 men who developed prostate cancer during the study period, 20,181 (40%) died after diagnosis of the disease. Of these deaths, 49% (9,889) resulted from prostate cancer. This amounts to an overall prostate-cancer-specific mortality rate of 20%. Compared to the U.S. which has a prostate-cancer-specific mortality rate of 15%, the UK findings are a little high, which is perhaps due to differences in prostate cancer monitoring and diagnosis between countries. The take home message is that prostate cancer, especially if undetected or untreated, can be fatal. In fact, it’s the second leading cause […]

Coffee’s Cancer Preventing Properties – Can Drinking Coffee Really Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer?

Many of us view coffee as a morning necessity. It helps us perk up and get ready for the work day ahead. Several previous studies have shown that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. A new study, just released by the Harvard School of Public Health, has shown some very promising benefits for male coffee drinkers. The study looked at the coffee drinking habits of 47,000 men, comparing the number of cups they had per day with the rate of prostate cancer development among them. Men who drank “a lot” of coffee, defined as six cups or more per day by the study, were 30% less likely to develop any form of the disease than their non-coffee drinking peers. Furthermore, they were 60% less likely to develop an aggressive and life-threatening metastatic prostate cancer. So is it healthy to be drinking six cups of coffee per day? Are there benefits to drinking just one cup of coffee? The answer to the first question is not a simple one. Those who have read my blog know that I advocate healthy dietary choices; I don’t […]

The Role of MAN2C1 in Prostate Cancer Progression

Despite being a firm believer in the benefits of PSA testing, I recognize that it is not enough on its own to be able to identify the severity of a man’s cancer. By looking at PSA velocity, family history, Gleason scores, and biopsy results, we’re able to piece together what we think is an accurate view of a patient’s case; but there really is no definite way to tell short of removing the prostate. This has driven researches to try to find a method for testing that provides much more definitive results, thus lowering the rate of unnecessary treatments and reducing overall screening costs. Recently, new research has shown a correlation between increased levels of a protein called MAN2C1 and the development of metastatic cancers. Another protein called PTEN typically suppresses tumor growth, but increased levels of MAN2C1 have been identified as a cause of reduced efficacy of PTEN; preventing the body from properly fighting off prostate cancer development. Since prostate cancer develops so slowly, in many cases, it may never progress to a point where it would be lethal. With current screening methods we aren’t able to make a […]

Erectile Dysfunction, Penile Rehabilitation, and Sex After Robotic Prostatectomy Surgery

Advancements in robotic prostatectomy surgery have greatly reduced the risk of impotence in men following the procedure. With my nerve-sparing SMART Surgery Technique 85% of my patients regain sexual function within one year. The question for many men though is, “What about the other 15%?” While I do everything in my power to save the delicate nerves around the prostate that control sexual function, there are times when the location and size of the tumor do not allow for a bilateral nerve sparing (sparing of the nerves on both sides of the prostate). In instances where nerves on one side of the prostate are removed the return of sexual function is more difficult. For men who have the nerves from both sides removed a return of natural sexual function is rare. To combat these problems a nerve graft, commonly taken from the leg, can be used in a nerve reconstruction process. These nerves are used to help regenerate the penile nerves, in an effort to restore a man’s ability to maintain an erection. For some men, a little extra help is needed. This can be done several ways. The least […]

Prostate Cancer Does Not Discriminate

It doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have, famous or not famous, prostate cancer is not biased – it can affect any man. More and more celebrities are being diagnosed with and treating the disease, while sadly, some succumb to it. While no man should have to die from prostate cancer, the fact that famous men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer has helped to raise awareness of the disease. As I always say, the first step in better treatment and survival rates comes through better education. In my time as a surgeon I’ve performed robotic prostatectomy surgery on a number of notable men including famed Dutch interior designerJan Des Bouvrie, world-famous Latin musician “Little Johnny” Rivero, and just yesterday, Curtis Sliwa, radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels organization. The one thing that these men all have in common is that they want to help raise awareness; they want share their stories with the world. Through their fame and exposure they’re able to reach a large segment of people who are interested in their experiences and what they have to say. In Curtis Sliwa’s case, as a […]

A Cure And Quality of Life In Prostate Cancer Treatments

There is no doubt that any currently available prostate cancer treatment has potential for long-term effects on a man’s quality of life. A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that many of these treatments have a severe impact on sexual and urinary function. However, when it came to the overall quality of a man’s life, factors like pain, energy levels, emotional health and the ability to perform daily physical tasks, such as walking, climbing stairs or errands were largely unaffected. The study followed 1,269 American men for four years after their early-stage prostate cancer treatment. Sixty percent had undergone a radical prostatectomy, or surgical removal of the prostate gland. Seventeen percent had radiation therapy, otherwise known as brachytherapy, whereby radioactive “seeds” are implanted in the prostate gland. Twelve percent had external radiation therapy. Six percent of patients had a combination of two radiation therapies and five percent used hormone drug therapy to inhibit prostate cancer growth. It is well known that prostate cancer treatments such as surgery and radiation can cause problems with urinary function and sexual performance, including erectile dysfunction. However, this is the […]

Omega-3 and Its Surprising Effects on Prostate Cancer Development

A recent study has come to a surprising conclusion about the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in the role of prostate cancer development. Omega-3 is considered to be a healthy type of fat found in fish such as salmon and herring. It’s long been known that high levels of Omega-3 in your diet has a beneficial effect on the heart, and was also believed to have a cancer fighting effect as well. However, a new study shows that this may not be the case. The conclusion of the study came from data collected over the course of seven years, looking at a total of around 19,000 men, all of which were over the age of 55. During that time 1,668 of the men (8.8%) developed prostate cancer. This included both slow and aggressive forms of the disease. Of those men, 125 (7.5%) of them developed an aggressive form of the disease. Throughout the study the participants received regular blood tests, and levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) were recorded. At the end of the study these values were compared against the participants and it was found […]

Omega-3 and Its Surprising Effects on Prostate Cancer Development

A recent study has come to a surprising conclusion about the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in the role of prostate cancer development. Omega-3 is considered to be a healthy type of fat found in fish such as salmon and herring. It’s long been known that high levels of Omega-3 in your diet has a beneficial effect on the heart, and was also believed to have a cancer fighting effect as well. However, a new study shows that this may not be the case. The conclusion of the study came from data collected over the course of seven years, looking at a total of around 19,000 men, all of which were over the age of 55. During that time 1,668 of the men (8.8%) developed prostate cancer. This included both slow and aggressive forms of the disease. Of those men, 125 (7.5%) of them developed an aggressive form of the disease. Throughout the study the participants received regular blood tests, and levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) were recorded. At the end of the study these values were compared against the participants and it was found […]

Receiving Care that is Truly Personalized

One of my core philosophies when it comes to treating patients is to entirely custom tailor their experience with me to cover their needs. When stepping into my office you become a member of our family here at Mt. Sinai, and the level of care you’ll receive reflects that dedication. This is done in a number of ways, before, during, and even after surgery – it’s a bond that never ends. I feel that this sets me apart from other doctors who all too often feel cold. While your physical health is what they’re dedicated to addressing, they don’t address your needs as an individual; a person who has questions and fears and needs answers and support. My staff and I make sure that we’re available to provide this throughout a patient’s whole treatment process. When it comes to the actual surgical process I handle things in a way very few doctors can claim. It’s very typical for a surgeon to perform just the major parts of the robotic prostatectomy operation, opting to have their surgical team perform the more minor aspects that don’t require as much technical skill and […]

New Study Discusses Radiation Exposure from Full Body Scanners

Radiation is a subject that’s been in the news a lot. Even before the radioactive leaks in Japan and the fear ofradiation spreading to California increasing sales of Iodide pills there was often talk in the news about the risks and dangers of being exposed to it. When the TSA introduced new full-body scanners, that use radiation to screen people for potential bombs and weapons before boarding airplanes, many were concerned about the risks that these scanners posed. How much radiation were people receiving by going through these? Would they increase a person’s risk of cancer? Did frequent fliers have to be extra concerned? I did a Fox News Medical “A-Team” segment on this very subject back in November of 2010. A new study was just published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine that confirms what was said in that segment: there is no reason to be concerned. The study states that less than 1% of the radiation that will be received during a flight will come from the scanning process; the rest is from the time actually spent in the air on the plane. Additionally, each scan is equivalent to just 3-9 minutes of […]