Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Statin use may hide prostate cancer

My prostate cancer was discovered because of a spike in my PSA level that was noted during a routine annual doctor's visit. Others are first diagnosed for prostate cancer when their PSA level reaches a certain threshold.
In both cases, a biopsy usually follows.
What's a concern is that a report at Urology Today finds the use of statins lowers PSA levels, thereby giving inaccurate numbers that needed to give an accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Statins are a class of drug used to lower cholesterol levels in people at risk for heart disease. Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor are among the brand names of these drugs.
In a retrospective study of 1,214 men who used statins, researchers found that as LDL (bad cholesterol) dropped so did PSA levels.
"PSA decline was linearly associated with a decline in LDL and for every 10% LDL
decline there was a PSA decline of 1.64%."

Often, a threshold PSA level triggers the need for a biopsy. The reseachers found that the drop in PSA in as many 39% of the cases would have resulted in no biopsy being performed.

As is so often the case, there's a lot of uncertainty regarding statins and prostate cancer. Obviously more study needs to be done.
For instance:
-- A report earlier this summer found that the use of statins for the long term could raise the risk of prostate cancer among obese men.
-- A report in January found that men who were taking statins to lower their cholesterol had a 10 percent greater chance of being cured of prostate cancer by radiation therapy 10 years after diagnosis

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote yellow on election day

Being an ardent bicyclist, as well as a cancer survivor, I always pay special attention when I hear from the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
The foundation is reminding the LiveStrong Army to get out and Vote Yellow on election day.
That means wear yellow when you vote to make the impression that those committed to battling cancer come out to vote on election day.
Both Obama and McCain pledged on the record that they would fight cancer if elected president. Wearing yellow should remind them of their pledge.
Find out more about Vote Yellow here.