Prostate News & Updates

Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Posted November 3, 2014

Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer is Widespread in the United States
A new study reveals widespread adoption in the United States of robot-assisted prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer in recent years.


Latest News in Prostate Cancer Research

Posted September 22, 2014

What’s the best treatment after surgery? Genomes may hold the answer.
Genomic analysis of prostate cancer indicates the best course of action after surgery.

Prostate Cancer: Docs drive treatment choice
Understanding your doctor’s influence on your treatment.

New guidelines address long term needs of prostate cancer survivors
Learning more about the future for prostate cancer survivors.

Primary care of prostate cancer survivors
Staying healthy after prostate cancer. (Viewing article requires free account set-up)

Positive Benefits of Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy

Posted June 17, 2014

A recent study suggests that robot-assisted radical prostatectomy may lessen a patient’s need for additional surgery or additional cancer treatments.

In a study aimed at investigating if robotic surgery offered any advantage over traditional open surgery, Jim Hu, MD, MPH, reviewed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data on 5,556 patients who received robotic surgery and 7,878 who underwent open surgery between 2004 and 2009.

They found that prostate cancer patients who had a robot-assisted radical prostatectomy had 5% fewer positive surgical margins – 13.6% vs. 18.3% for traditional surgery.  A positive margin means cancer cells are detected along the edge of the removed tissue which often signals the need for additional surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells.

The results suggest that robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy offers more precise cancer tissue removal which can have a direct impact on quality of life following surgery.

Mark Memo, DO, urologist with Partners for Urology Health, says the research demonstrates a national trend in robotics. “Robot-assisted surgery has provided more accuracy and precision with general movements. Post operatively these patients have less pain, lower transfusion rates, smaller incision, less time with the foley [catheter], and quicker return to work,” says Dr. Memo.

The researchers also found that in the data studied, patients that underwent robot-assisted radical prostatectomy also required less therapy, such as hormone or radiation therapy, 2 years following surgery.

“The national adoption rate continues to increase as well the volumes. The long term outcomes for robot-assisted radical prostatectomy are now 14 years and the data continues to look like the best option,” says Dr. Memo.

While patients should consult their physician when making decisions regarding treatment options, this study provides evidence of the positive potential of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.

Study Suggests Avoid Supplements to Reduce Cancer Risk

Posted May 27, 2014

Could vitamin and mineral supplements be harmful?  Results of a recently released study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that taking high doses of selenium and vitamin E supplements may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Vitamin E and selenium are naturally occurring nutrients necessary to the body’s function and found in the foods we eat.

Selenium is a chemical element most commonly found in seafood and organ meats, such as liver and also in cereals and dairy products. It is an essential nutrient that plays a role in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism and DNA syntheses, and protects against oxidative damage and infection.

Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds that act as an antioxidant in the body. The vitamin is commonly found in foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals

To better understand the relationship between selenium and vitamin E supplements and the risk of prostate cancer, researchers analyzed 1,739 patients with prostate cancer and 3,117 matched controls from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) began in 2001 to determine if taking daily high doses of vitamin E (400 IU) and/or selenium (200 mcg) may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The study was supposed to continue for 12 years, but in 2008 the study was ended after researches found no evidence the supplements provided any benefit and in fact seemed to increase the risk of prostate cancer.  Study subjects stopped taking the supplements in 2008, but researchers continued to follow them to monitor their prostate cancer risk.

What they found was that men who had high selenium levels at the beginning of the study had a 91 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer.  They also discovered  that for men with low selenium levels at the beginning of the study, vitamin E increased total prostate cancer risk by 63 percent, while high-grade prostate cancer risk increased by 111 percent.

Other studies have found that some high-dose supplements can increase cancer risk – such as folate and beta carotene.  This research yielded similar results for vitamin E and selenium.

“There is no conclusive scientific evidence that supplements are beneficial and now we have emerging evidence that some are actually harmful,” said Dr. Richard Nord. “I advise patients that a heart-healthy diet – high in fiber low in saturated fats rich in fruits and vegetables – along with exercise and body weight management is likely the best advice to reduce prostate cancer risk—- and to stop smoking if they are smokers.”

Talk to your doctor about all the supplements you take to make sure you’re actually helping yourself and not putting yourself at higher risk for prostate cancer.

Fighting Prostate Cancer with Awareness and Education

Posted May 10, 2014

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and second leading killer among men in the Mahoning Valley, yet less than 50% of all men in the Valley had a digital rectal exam last year that could provide an early diagnosis.

If detected early, prostate cancer can be cured. Education, awareness and action can make a huge difference in the lives of many Mahoning Valley men. Man Up Mahoning Valley was created on this premise.  

Man up Mahoning Valley is a non-profit organization designed to educate men in the Valley about the need to be checked for prostate cancer. According to Man Up Mahoning Valley, high prostate cancer rates in our area can be directly attributed to the fact that many men don’t get prostate exams and don’t participate in early screenings.

After his diagnosis, Steve Burbrink, originator of the Man Up Mahoning Valley prostate support group, became involved in the Man Up Mahoning Valley effort.  Throughout the year the group hosts various events to help increase awareness and encourage men to get screened. One such event is the Fuel the Fight car show.

“The idea for the Fuel the Fight car show was born out of conversations with the folks at the GM Lordstown plant. With the help of General Motors Lordstown, the Fuel the Fight car show was born.  GM donated $3,500 to the effort last year,” says Steve.

You can join the fun at the Fuel the Fight car and motorcycle show on June 1 from 11am-3pm at Boardman High School.  The event features the world’s oldest Mustang, food eating contests, and a chance to win a 2 year lease on a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze 2LT.  Plus, PSA testing will be available at the event to all men, regardless of their ability to pay, courtesy of Man Up and Humility of Mary Health Partners.

Visit to learn more.


The Healing Power of Communication       

Posted April 27, 2014  

Hearing a cancer diagnosis is never easy.  There’s a sudden rush of fear, then the need to decide about treatment, make arrangements for appointments, followed by more fear and uncertainty.  It can help to have someone to talk to.

It’s a feeling Steve Burbrink knows all too well.  After being broadsided by a prostate cancer diagnosis, Steve found that talking with other men about their experiences with cancer was a huge help in getting him back on his feet and back into his life.

Steve was diagnosed with prostate cancer a year ago.  At age 54 he believed he was healthy, and had never had a digital rectal or PSA screening. “I was stubborn.  Even after age 50 I wouldn’t go to the doctor,” Steve says.

Then one weekend he was unable to urinate. He sought treatment in the emergency room where he received a catheter and was referred to urologist Dan Ricchiuti, MD.   Steve had a biopsy a week later.

“Waiting for the biopsy results I had a gut feeling something was really wrong,” he recounts.

Unfortunately, Steve’s gut feeling was right.  The results of the biopsy indicated prostate cancer. His prostate had grown to 123 cm – similar to the size of a baseball. For Steve the diagnosis was devastating.  He says he felt isolated and wanted to talk with other cancer survivors, to see how they found out and how they were dealing with the diagnosis.

“I had taken time off work to recover from surgery and was really getting stir crazy.  When I received the all-clear from my bone and CT scans I called my boss at GM to see if I could come back to work.  They were great and I returned to work,” he says.

Now Steve looks back on that time as a moment of divine intervention. “When I returned to work I began talking about my experience, and I met other guys who had similar experiences. It was as though God guided me back there to meet these guys.  We started talking and feeling better about our own situations.  That’s when I decided that we needed a support group – a group open to all guys going through this.  We could help each other,” Steve says.

Working with Partners for Urology Health, Man up Mahoning Valley and GM Steve began to organize the support group. The group meets on the third Thursday of every month at Partners for Urology Health on Mahoning Avenue.

When asked if he had one word of advice for men Steve said, “Don’t be stubborn – get your PSA test. Don’t wait – there is no pain, no warning signs. Protect yourself and get tested.”

To learn more about contact Steve at 330-207-7873 or

 Man Up Mahoning Valley Prostate Cancer Support Group
3rd Thursday of every month – 5:00-6:30pm
Partners for Urology Health – 6262 Mahoning Avenue, Austintown

The Prostate Treatment Debate: Surgery or Watchful Waiting?

Posted April 1, 2014

When first diagnosed with prostate cancer, a patient faces some decisions with his doctor regarding treatment. In the past, depending on the age of the man, the aggressiveness of the cancer detected and the overall health of the patient, watchful waiting was often the preferred course of action.  Now, a new study suggests that in some patient populations radical prostatectomy can significantly reduce the risk of death.

The Study
Conducted by researchers from Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, the study analyzed data from the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group Study Number 4 (SPCG-4).  That study followed 695 men with early prostate cancer over a 23-year period.  The men were randomized into two groups – one treated with surgery – the other with watchful waiting and no initial treatment.  Over the course of the study, 200 of 347 men in the surgery group and 247 of the 348 men in the watchful waiting group died. Of the deaths, 63 in the surgery group and 99 in the watchful waiting group were due to prostate cancer.

Surgery or Watchful Waiting?
For a man recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, what’s the best course of action? It’s important to discuss all options with your doctor. While this study raises the profile of the potential benefit of radical prostatectomy in men diagnosed at a younger age, it’s not an endorsement of one treatment over another for all patient populations.

The benefit of surgery with respect to death from prostate cancer was largest in men younger than 65 years of age and in those with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. However, the study also indicated that among older men prostatectomy could reduce the risk of developing more advanced cancer.

Discussing treatment options with your doctor is always the best course of action. Understanding your overall health, overall cancer staging, and other risk factors can help your doctor design a treatment that is best for you.

Should I Have a PSA Screening Test?

Posted March 9, 2014

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer may be one of the most widely disputed and misunderstood diagnostics tests used today. Recently the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against the use of the screening in men who are asymptomatic regardless of age.  That has caused some men to ask their doctors – “Why do I need a PSA test?” It’s a good question to ask and it gives doctors and their patients a great opportunity to discuss the uses and benefits of the PSA screening.

In a recent article in Urology Times, John M. Hollingsworth, MD, MS, outlined key guidelines for recommending the PSA. From a patient viewpoint, it’s helpful to understand what PSA screening can do for you and why your doctor may or may not recommend you have the test.

 What is the PSA test?
Let’s start with the very basics. What is the prostate and what does it do? The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis that produces a protein that nourishes and protects sperm. The PSA screening is used to measure the level of this protein in your blood. High levels of PSA in the blood can have a number of benign causes including benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, and urinary tract infection. However, prostate cancer also can cause a high level of PSA.

For men with lower urinary tract symptoms, PSA can be used as a diagnostic tool.   In men without symptoms, the PSA is used as a screening tool to find prostate cancer early.

To Screen or Not to Screen?
If your doctor recommends prostate screening, that advice isn’t an arbitrary decision.  It’s a decision based on significant criteria around the potential risk of the disease, the likelihood that early detection will significantly improve survival rates, and evidence that the screening itself and the potential treatment does not pose a significant risk to the patient.

The PSA test isn’t perfect, but there is a great deal of research that suggests men benefit from early detection.  It’s also important to remember that despite the AAFP and the USPSTF recommendations against PSA screening, the American College of Physicians (ACP), American Cancer Society (ACS), and American Urological Association (AUA), all recommend that patients and doctors discuss the potential benefits and harms of screening before a PSA test is performed.

The most important recommendation for any man is to openly discuss with his doctor the benefits and risks associated with PSA screening.  The American Cancer Society created a great online tool to help you discuss the screening with your doctor. It’s available at  View it alone or with your doctor and then discuss whether PSA screening is best for you. Your doctor’s main priority is your health – remember that as you share your concerns and come to a decision together.

John M. Hollingsworth, MD, MS, How to Talk to Patients about Prostate Cancer Screening, Urology Times, Feb. 11, 2014;


Partners for Urology Health Provides Unique Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Posted February 23, 2014

Each year approximately 700 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties.  Partners for Urology Health is the only specialized diagnostic and treatment center for prostate cancer in northeast Ohio providing the latest technology for external beam radiation therapy in a single location.  In addition, the center has an Elekta linear accelerator that is equipped with VMAT and Cone beam technology, and a Calypso system which is used for localization and tracking during treatment of prostate cancer. This technology allows for targeted delivery of radiation to the affected area minimizing side effects and reducing treatment times.

“I have been impressed with how well the treatments are tolerated by our patients with limited interruption in their day to day activities,” said Richard Nord, MD, FACS, adding “The patients have universally expressed to us how compassionate the staff at the center is, making a difficult time in their life much more manageable.”

Partners for Urology Health is a joint venture between Humility of Mary Health Partners, N.E.O. Urology Associates, Inc., and Advanced Urology, Inc. The center focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and other urologic malignancies. Each patient receives a customized, comprehensive care plan developed by a board certified staff. Since opening the center has seen more than 600 patients.

The staff of this facility consists of two urology groups and a radiation treatment center. Advanced Urology and NEO Urology Associates, along with Humility of Mary Health Partners have joined forces to provide patients in the Mahoning Valley with the most updated technology in the region for treatment of urological cancers.

To learn more about Partners for Urology Health, visit the center online at



Could inflammation of the prostate mean you’re at a lower risk for developing prostate cancer?

Posted February 9, 2014

Physicians at Partners for Urology Health are reviewing the results of recent study that indicates inflammation of the prostate may signal a reduced risk of a future prostate cancer diagnosis.

The research, published in the December 9, 2013 issue of Cancer, looked at 6,238 men aged 50 to 75 years who had PSA levels between 2.5 and 10.0ng/mL and who had a prior negative biopsy. The men also underwent additional biopsies 2 and 4 years later.

At the beginning of the study, acute inflammation was most common in the younger men while chronic inflammation was more typical in the older men.

At the 2-year biopsy, 14% of the men in the study were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Those men with acute inflammation were 25% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and the men with chronic inflammation had a 35% reduced risk.  At the 4-year biopsy, only acute inflammation was associated with a lower cancer risk.

Lead investigator, Daniel Moreira, MD, of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New Hyde Park, NY, and colleagues suggest that signs of inflammation in a prostate biopsy may indicate a reduced risk of subsequently being diagnosed with prostate cancer in a future biopsy.

So what does that mean to you?
If your doctor tells you there are signs of inflammation in your prostate biopsy make sure it’s reported in your results. The study’s investigators say that because of its predictive value, inflammation should be routinely reported in prostate biopsies.

The researchers suggest that inflammation may be the result of the body’s immune system attacking cancer cells before they can become an established tumor.  This would explain the lower risk of diagnosed cancer and would also suggest that monitoring inflammation and immune response could be a valuable tool in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.


Moreira, D. M., Nickel, J. C., Gerber, L., Muller, R. L., Andriole, G. L., Castro-Santamaria, R. and Freedland, S. J. (2014), Baseline prostate inflammation is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men undergoing repeat prostate biopsy: Results from the REDUCE study. Cancer, 120: 190–196. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28349

Inflammation in biopsy may indicate lower prostate cancer risk. Richard Kerr. Urology Times,