Prostate cancer is the second-most-common form of cancer among American men. Researchers are studying new ways to help prevent, detect and treat the disease:
• Ask your doctor about the pros and cons of screenings. The American Urological Association has recommended against PSA screening for men under age 40 and those ages 40 to 55 who are at average risk for prostate cancer. The PSA test can catch some cancers that may never lead to death or even cause symptoms; yet treatment can cause side effects that can greatly affect quality of life, such as incontinence and impotence.
The American Cancer Society recommends making an informed decision based on available information, discussion with your physician and your own views of benefits and side effects.
• Ask about Xofigo. This new drug was FDA-approved in May and intended for men whose cancer has migrated to their bones.
Known generically as radium-223 dichloride, it works by emitting radioactive particles that target cancerous tissue in the bones; clinical trial results showed men who took it lived longer and reported an improved quality of life. The medication has side effects, and it can be costly. Talk to your doctor to see it’s a good fit for you.
• Reconsider supplements. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who took soy supplements after having their prostate cancer removed were just as likely to see their cancer return as men who didn’t take soy. A recent analysis of data also found a link between fish oil supplements and an increased prostate cancer risk.
Experts at the American Cancer Society say that despite the findings, soy foods and fatty, omega-3-rich fish are still good, healthy alternatives to red meat. Ask your physician about your supplement regimen.
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