Aggressive prostate cancer rising: why?

Posted on: July 20th, 2016
by: Jennifer


Advanced Cancer Cases

Is prostate cancer generally becoming more aggressive and fast growing? Or have changes in prostate cancer screening practices allowed more early stage cancers to be missed, resulting in later diagnoses of more aggressive cancers?  NBC Nightly News recently showcased these questions, raised in a recent study by Dr. Edward Schaeffer, chair of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine.  These concerns are also important to advance the patient care provided by Chicago Prostate Cancer Center (CPCC).

Doubling of aggressive prostate cancer

Dr. Schaeffer’s study demonstrated that since 2004, “cases of metastatic prostate cancer — the type that has started to spread in the body — nearly doubled in men aged 55 to 69”. In 2012, the U.S. Preventative Task Force (USTPF) issued new prostate cancer screening guidelines, which suggested that the PSA test was leading to unnecessary biopsy procedures and treatment of insignificant cancers. As a result, many doctors stopped offering their patients routine screening with a PSA test and digital rectal exam (DRE).

Changes in screening guidelines

The investigators admit that recent changes in prostate cancer screening guidelines may not be totally to blame for this increase, partly since the guidelines were issued eight years into the study’s data collection time frame. At CPCC, we saw the tide shift toward less screening when the 2012 USPTF pronouncement was made. Unfortunately, over the last four years we have also seen an increasing number of men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

Screening even more important

If future research demonstrates prostate cancer is becoming more aggressive across the board, CPCC suggests early screening with both PSA and DRE will be more critical than ever.  Detecting early stage prostate cancer, when its highly treatable, will save more lives. Read more about the importance of prostate cancer screening or register for free screening supported in part by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago.

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Student shadows Dr. Moran, volunteers with research studies

Posted on: July 13th, 2016
by: Jennifer


Eric, MB, BJM

Chicago Prostate Cancer Center (CPCC) values education about prostate cancer, not only to improve patients’ understanding of the disease and its treatment options, but to expand technical knowledge of visiting physicians and provide opportunities for students.

CPCC works hand-in-hand with Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago (PCFC) on research and education that advances best practices in low dose-rate brachytherapy—or seed implant— an effective, convenient option that allows men to remain active during prostate cancer treatment.

We are grateful to student intern, Eric Bernstein, a Johns Hopkins undergraduate who is volunteering with PCFC for his second summer. Eric has observed brachytherapy and cryotherapy procedures and assists with research data entry. He is co-authoring a research abstract that will look at how many times prostate cancer was initially identified in individuals screened at our annual Prostate Cancer Screening Event.

Read Eric’s blog:

Since the beginning of the summer, I’ve been working at CPCC doing data entry tasks for the research side of the operation. I’ve seen countless PSA reports and physics charts and satisfaction surveys. But, as an undergraduate student considering medical school in the future, I’ve also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Moran and his team in the operating room. That has proven to be one of the most educational and interesting experiences that I have had.

 Although Dr. Moran only does a few different procedures here, they are, from a technological standpoint, very complicated. The course of the treatment uses several kinds of advanced imaging techniques as well as computer modeling and radiation. It begins with an ultrasound imaging of the prostate to get a rough estimate of the size and shape of the gland. A computer algorithm is then used to design the radioactive seed implant plan. Then, during the implant, a general anesthesia is used to put the patient to sleep, and the ultrasound is used again to visualize the prostate as Dr. Moran drops the seeds into place. Finally, a CT scan is performed to ensure that all the seeds are in the right place and that the correct amount of radiation was implanted.

 It seems like this procedure could be overwhelming to somebody who hasn’t had a second of medical education yet, but I actually relish the opportunity. Having all these things involved in the process means I’ve gotten to learn about how all of these things work and some of the ways they can be used. I’ve learned about the internal structure of the ultrasound probe and the physiology of sevoflurane, and more about the prostate than I ever thought I wanted to know. I know that experience will come in handy in medical school.

 The most valuable experience, however, comes from Dr. Moran and his team. The most important thing for a doctor and his or her team is how they interact with their patients. Dr. Moran has an exemplary bedside manner and his patients always seem at ease going into the OR. The nursing staff is kind and attentive, as well as knowledgeable about the procedures. I believe that most people who decide to go into health professions do so because they want to help people. Dr. Moran has reaffirmed that belief for me. He has provided me with an example of how to behave around patients. That is experience that I will take with me no matter what my future holds.

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7 Common Myths About Prostate Cancer

Posted on: May 20th, 2016
by: Jennifer


7 Common Myths About Prostate Cancer

By Chelsea Wells
Apr 10, 2016

No one believes that they will actually get prostate cancer. In the best of all worlds, no one would, but unfortunately over a million males across the world are diagnosed each and every year. The best way to effectively deal with an issue is to be informed about it, so we’re here to dispel some common myths that surround the issue.

Number Seven: Prostate Cancer Only Happens to Old Men

It’s true that the majority of victims of this disease are older men, but there’s a decent amount of people who get it that aren’t even 65 yet. 40% of men, to be exact.

At Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago (PCFC) we encourage men to begin screening at age 50.

Number Six: My Dad Got It, so I Will as Well

Although chances are twice as high for getting it if your father or someone else in your family had the disease, it doesn’t mean it will definitely happen to you. Talk to your doctor and get regular checkups to set your mind at ease on the issue.

PCFC: Awareness of your family history can only benefit your health care planning.

Number Five: It Can’t Kill You
Although a lot of people survive cancer due to advancements in medicine, others are not so lucky. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death, behind lung cancer, for adult males.

PCFC: Men and families affected by prostate cancer share their concerns at our patient support meetings, and benefit from PCFC research and education. 

Number Four: It the Cancer Returns, It Will be For Good
It’s understandable that someone would be unsettled by their cancer coming back, but it doesn’t mean it’s back forever! You can treat it again.

PCFC:  Ask your physician about salvage LDR brachytherapy (or seed implants), which can be an option for many men with recurrent prostate cancer.  

Number Three: PSA Tests are Harmful
There are certain experts who recommend not receiving regular PSA tests. These recommendations can be misleading, however. The test itself is only a harmless blood test. While PSA tests are not without flaw, they aren’t overtly bad for you either.

PCFC:  Yes, the suggestion that PSA testing inherently causes harm is a disservice to men who are convinced to avoid screening. 

Number Two: If Your PSA is Low, You Can Rule Out Cancer
It can be tempting to jump to conclusions, especially about being cancer free. But it’s important to remember that tests are not perfect, and can’t give definitive answers. If you suspect something is wrong, you should receive additional testing.

PCFC:  The PSA test, while a powerful tool, is one piece of information. A PSA blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) are the two standard screening tests for prostate cancer. PSA is an enzyme produced by the prostate. It is normal to have small amounts of this enzyme in the bloodstream, so an elevated PSA alone does not necessarily indicate cancer. It may indicate non-cancerous conditions such as prostate inflammation, infection, or trauma. Often the DRE does not reveal any abnormalities that the doctor can feel. For this reason, the PSA blood test together with the DRE is important for early detection.

You know your body best, so don’t ignore your suspicions.  Always check with your physician.

Number One: Treatment Always Leads to Impotence Issues
This can be a symptom, but it’s not the case for everyone. Thanks for reading our list.

PCFC:  Treatment outcomes can vary among patients, but most men treated with low dose-rate brachytherapy typically preserve potency for years after the procedure.

See full article at: http://ppcorn.com/us/2016/04/10/prostate-cancer-7-common-myths/#ixzz46P654z5C

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Why did this patient, who is a physician, choose LDR brachytherapy to treat his prostate cancer?

Posted on: May 11th, 2016
by: Jennifer


Chuck is not only a patient, but he is also a physician. After doing extensive research on his treatment options for prostate cancer and reviewing cure rates and quality of life outcomes, Chuck chose to undergo LDR prostate brachytherapy (seed implantation) at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center. He was treated by Dr. Brian Moran and has been doing very well and is extremely satisfied with his treatment decision.

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Brachytherapy: Questions and Answers

Posted on: January 17th, 2015
by: Jennifer


Second to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men; approximately 300,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. According to the American Cancer Society, an average American man has a one in six chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

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