Eliza Roque, 21/12/2016
AUS recently received a heartwarming letter from Mr. Helmut Stefan, a prostate cancer survivor. Helmut was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the summer of 2014 and underwent Radiation Therapy at the AUS Center for Prostate Cancer. During his treatment, he kept a journal documenting his patient experience and later published a book called “The Full Bladder Club”. Two years later, he is […]Read more...
Eliza Roque, 21/12/2016
AUS recently received a heartwarming letter from Mr. Helmut Stefan, a prostate cancer survivor. Helmut was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the summer of 2014 and underwent Radiation Therapy at the AUS Center for Prostate Cancer. During his treatment, he kept a journal documenting his patient experience and later published a book called “The Full Bladder Club”. Two years later, he is free from prostate cancer by making sure he goes to his yearly check-up and keeping a positive outlook in life. He continues to live life to the fullest – writing books, spending time with his wife and kids, composing music and traveling the world.
My dear CPC friends,
It was two years ago on Nov. 5th, 2014, that I received my final treatment. I remember quite well that later on that day I wrote in my journal, which subsequently became The Full Bladder Club, the following words:
“And now I will joyfully go on with my life, eager to experience all that still lies before me, for I know that…
There are still many wonderful places to see
So many good books to read
So much beautiful music to hear
So many new friends to meet”
I am happy to report that all of those wishes have come true. I have seen beautiful places; read good books; heard beautiful music; and met many new friends. I want you to know that you are a very special group among those new friends.
There is no doubt in my mind that it was the treatment that I received at the Center for Prostate Cancer which enables me to continue to live life to the fullest.
I hope to be able to submit such positive reports to you for many more years to come.
Thank you for the life-saving work that you have done for me and which you continue to do for countless others.
Peace and Love
Helmut’s journey to recovery is truly inspiring. We understand that the process can be overwhelming and finding the right treatment is never easy. We hope that by sharing Helmut’s experience, it can give patients a better understanding of our treatment process and the benefits of radiation therapy.
Our Center for Prostate Cancer Team prides itself in providing a personal, caring and compassionate environment for our patients and have had 100% patient satisfaction for over 5 years. This is what sets AUS apart from other facilities. Actual patient experience and the outcome of treatment is what matters the most when choosing the right doctor for your care .
To learn more about Helmut’s radiation therapy encounter, you may read the full story at:
If you would like to schedule a consult or would like to get more information about radiation therapy, please call our Center for Prostate Cancer at 708-581-7308 and our CPC team will be available to assist you.Read less
Men’s health news
Eliza Roque, 14/11/2016
All of our urologists at Associated Urological Specialists have noticed an increased confusion about PSA screening, and what the PSA blood test can and can’t do. Ever since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a Government panel, recommended against broad screening in 2012, many men wonder whether or not they should have this test. “Doctor, […]Read more...
Men’s health news
Eliza Roque, 14/11/2016
All of our urologists at Associated Urological Specialists have noticed an increased confusion about PSA screening, and what the PSA blood test can and can’t do. Ever since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a Government panel, recommended against broad screening in 2012, many men wonder whether or not they should have this test. “Doctor, I was always told that early detection saves lives. Now I don’t know what to believe,” is typical of the comments we hear. We want to help set the record straight, so let’s start with the most basic question.
What is PSA?
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a type of protein (antigen) found on the surface of all prostate gland cells. It is called “specific” because it is unique to the prostate; for example, liver cells do not produce PSA. Whether a prostate cell is healthy or has become cancerous, it is normal to “shed” antigens into the bloodstream, where they can be measured by a PSA blood test. If disease is occurring in the gland (e.g. infection, inflammation, BPH, prostate cancer) or the gland is stimulated (e.g. sexual activity, bike riding, digital rectal exam) it will likely cause an increase of PSA into the bloodstream. Thus, PSA is a biomarker that can indicate activity in the prostate gland.
When a blood test reveals a rise in PSA, it does not automatically mean there is prostate cancer because PSA is not specific for prostate cancer alone. However, cancer can cause elevated PSA so it is important to rule it in or out. Because urology specializes in prostate problems, a urologist is the best person to consult if a PSA blood test proves suspicious.
PSA screening: a patient’s dilemma
In its early stages, prostate cancer has almost no symptoms, making it difficult to detect. Before the PSA era began in the early-1990s, the disease was often found too late to be cured. However, when the blood test was developed, PSA was recognized as a possible biomarker for prostate cancer. Since aging is a risk factor for prostate cancer, a national program of routine annual PSA blood tests was launched as a way to screen older men for prostate cancer. Those with elevated PSA values were sent for a prostate biopsy, and the diagnosis rate increased. As a result, the prostate cancer death rate quickly dropped because patients were treated with surgery or radiation while the cancer was still localized (contained in the gland). Statistics showed that early detection saves lives.
However, both surgery and radiation come with urinary and sexual risks. After a U.S. Government task force studied the situation, in 2012 they recommended against widespread screening because many men with early stage, low-risk disease were being overtreated and having to live with urinary or sexual problems after treatment. In these cases, statistics showed that early detection impairs lifestyles.
This dilemma – saving lives vs. impairing lifestyles – has created a national controversy: to screen or not to screen? Patients are confused about whether to have an annual PSA test or not. This is where our doctors at Associated Urological Specialists can help.
The screening decision: How we can help you
The PSA blood test is a powerful tool. Like any tool, when properly used it gives the desired results, but if improperly used it makes it harder to get the right outcome. The latest research shows that when doctors and patients work together on informed decisions, everyone wins. For this reason, we think of ourselves as your PSA allies. When PSA testing is appropriately used, the outcome is excellent.
This is why we tailor PSA testing for each individual. We know that some patients have particular risk factors that suggest starting PSA as early as age 45. These include
We also know that an elevated or rising PSA can indicate one of four main prostate disorders:
For this reason, we take our time before rushing to conclusions. We want to keep you out of harm’s way, and help diagnose each man’s condition in plenty of time to have thoughtful discussions about the right course of action. We want to work with you as well as for you.
At Associated Urological Specialists, it’s our philosophy that a PSA blood test is a personalized decision. In addition to the basic PSA test, there are additional refinements such as free PSA, PSA velocity, and other biomarker tests that can help us determine the likelihood of prostate cancer before we take further steps. Because we strive for a thorough risk assessment, tailoring testing to your situation is just one of our strengths.
The benefits of PSA screening can include early cancer detection, early intervention with lower risks of treatment side effects, 50% less risk of advanced prostate cancer, and greater chance of cure.
Contact us at any of our locations (our contact numbers are found in our website under “Our Physicians”) if you have questions or concerns about PSA screening. Let Associated Urological Specialists help you solve the dilemma and become your men’s health ally.
Men’s health news
Eliza Roque, 16/06/2016
Testosterone. Watermelon. Working out. Statin drugs. Green tea. What do these have in common? The answer is: prostate health. June 13-19 is National Men’s Health Week, culminating in Father’s Day. It’s a great time for a few pointers on prostate health. That walnut-sized gland tucked away in the pelvic bed plays a key role in […]Read more...
Men’s health news
Eliza Roque, 16/06/2016
Testosterone. Watermelon. Working out. Statin drugs. Green tea. What do these have in common?
The answer is: prostate health.
June 13-19 is National Men’s Health Week, culminating in Father’s Day. It’s a great time for a few pointers on prostate health. That walnut-sized gland tucked away in the pelvic bed plays a key role in a man’s quality of life. It affects his sex life and, without it, there would be no fathers. It also impacts urination. As men age, the small gland can create big problems with urination due to a condition called BPH that can disrupt sleep for nighttime bathroom visits or reduce daytime flow to a slow dribble.
Urology is the medical specialty that deals with male and female “plumbing”: kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Urologists also specialize in male sexual anatomy (prostate, seminal vesicles, testes and penis). Note that in men, the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the bladder) passes through the prostate, which is why the prostate affects urination as well as sexuality.
Why is prostate health important?
Remember those Sex Ed classes in school? A quick review illustrates the value of a healthy prostate:
Thus, the prostate gland performs functions that are among the most intimate sources of a man’s identity and self-esteem. It’s a small engine but it adds power to your macho machine.
How to keep your prostate tuned up
Unlike a mechanical engine that can suddenly break down, problems with the prostate gland usually develop slowly and quietly. The causes of prostate problems, including prostate cancer, can include things that you may already connect with cardiovascular health. They are the usual culprits: poor nutrition, lack of antioxidants, saturated fats, processed foods, sugar, red meat, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, stress, poor sleep habits, family history of prostate disease, etc. You’re probably thinking, what do they have to do with my prostate?
You may be surprised to learn that ED (erectile dysfunction) is often the first sign of heart disease. Special cells called endothelial cells line all the blood vessels in your body – including the spongy tissue in your penis. Their job is to make the walls of veins and arteries flexible to assist with blood flow. When your blood vessels are elastic, you have better erections. When your erections become more difficult, the cause may be lack of flexibility due to nonfunctioning endothelial cells. If they’re not working well below the belt, you can be sure they’re having problems above the belt. ED may also be connected with low testosterone. For many men, testosterone replacement therapy makes a significant difference.
Lifestyle changes are an investment in living cancer-free. Some studies suggest that men who take statins (to control cholesterol) are at reduced risk for prostate cancer. Similar studies have raised interest in aspirin for possibly preventing recurrence after prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Dean Ornish and others have shown that changing to pro-healthy habits in all areas can alter the genes that regulate tumor growth and development and thus controlling the growth of prostate cancer. As research goes ever more deeply into how cells function in response to genomic (molecular) activity, the message that’s coming across is, “You CAN prevent prostate cancer!”
As for urinary health, the most non-infection common source of difficulties for men is BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). While this is a common condition that occurs with aging, there is no known prevention for it. However, symptoms can often be managed in simple ways. Supplements like saw palmetto seem to help some men. If the condition worsens, there are medications and minimally invasive, effective treatments.
The bottom line
Prostate health is intertwined with a man’s identity and how he is able to conduct his daily life. The same practices that promote heart health and boost your immune system also benefit your prostate. The best gift you can give yourself (and those you love) is your good health, and that includes the small but mighty prostate.
We plan a broad range of future articles. Topics include going more deeply into subjects mentioned in this article, women’s urology/incontinence. We welcome your questions and suggestions for future articles. Don’t hesitate to contact us at AskAUS@auspecialists.com and let us know what interests you.