Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Hopper’

make new friends and keep the old, the new are silver the old are gold....


Since I have written the book I have perused the internet more often for prostate related news. I started this blog, I subscribe to RSS feeds that deal with prostate cancer news, and I search Twitter from time to time about Tweets related to the same. There is a consistent pattern of about three issues that I see over and over again and was a surprise to me as a practicing urologist for over twenty years. The emotion surrounding the PSA comes to mind and exemplified in the NYT Op-Ed by Richard Albin was news to me. The underlying distrust by many patients about their doctors and the feeling that everything is money driven. The biggest thing however is related to the importance many place on lifestyle and vitamins in both the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. I think this may be so because there is a market money-wise in selling and promoting the various concoctions. (Am I equally as guilty about suspecting money as the root of the issue of all the talk about lifestyle and diet as it pertains to prostate cancer?) Anyway…see below a benign article on prostate cancer. The author, a PA, references the Prostate Cancer Foundation, as saying that 70% of prostate cancer is because of lifestyle and that lifestyle can prevent prostate cancer. What is behind this? Is there a motive that I am missing?
The next article states that the major risk factors are age,heredity and  ethnicity.  Diet and other issues are discussed as well but are listed as minor players. Be sure to note that whether diet and lifestyle have role is controversial and has not been conclusively proven.
Take me for instance.  Low fat diet lover, excercise four times a week, love tomatoes, near ideal body weight and I got prostate cancer.  So what’s the big deal? If someone wants to say that you can prevent something by living and eating better, what’s wrong with that? Well….you know that a normal PSA is around 4. And that a PSA in a patient with known prostate cancer that is in the hundreds would most probably indicate either cancer in the lymph nodes or in bone. So…I am watching this video clip on a “prostate cancer” survivor and he and his wife are stating that his PSA is 120 and that with high dose vitamins given to him through a homeopathic doctor the PSA had gone to 110. He then said,” I don’t feel that the vitamins after 6 months have done much good. My wife and I then decided it might be time to see our urologist.” This is the problem. Patients tend to take a small bit of information that they have learned from a friend or the internet and then broadly apply to their prostate cancer in an inappropriate fashion. Don’t think of me as a snooty urologist, but there are nuances about prostate cancer that you just cannot glean from the internet.
So….be careful out there….live well and eat well but remember…. if you are betting on herbs, diet and lifestyle to prevent you from getting prostate cancer and you are black and your father had prostate cancer….bet on the latter. And another thing……tomatoes and supper dupper prostate pill vs. a Gleason’s 8….. go  with the Gleason’s 8.
Finally….the reason the first article caught my eye is that I have been to San Luis Obispo. My wife and I and our 4 month old first son drove to California in May of 1979 and pulled a pop-up camper the whole way behind a 1.2 liter Toyota Corolla.  One night we were at the Grand Canyon in that camper and our son Clay would not go to sleep. We were  miserable. So…we packed up everything and drove all night and arrived in California by the next morning.  Where we ended up was at a big rock that was out in the bay. I suppose that was Morrow Bay that is very near San Luis Obispo. Seems there something else there like a nuclear power plant in which there had been a famous protest march or something. I remember when we camped there that the California squirrels were bigger and more fluffy than our Georgia squirrels.
Posted on Thu, Sep. 23, 2010

Viewpoint: Prostate cancer not a death sentence

Tom Comar

Do you know what Colin Powell, Joe Torre, Sidney Poitier, Rudy Giuliani, Jerry Lewis, Robert De Niro, Harry Belafonte, John Kerry, Bob Dole, Chris Dodd, Norman Schwarzkopf and Arnold Palmer share in common? All were diagnosed with prostate cancer, yet continued as active leaders within their fields.These are just a few of the better-known men in “the club,” among hundreds of thousands of American men diagnosed each year with prostate cancer in this contemporary era of prostate specific antigen screening.

The numbers are staggering. Ten million Americans have had cancer (there are more than 100 known types). One in two men gets cancer (50 percent chance) and 1 in 3 women gets cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts that 217,730 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 32,050 will lose their lives to this disease. 

One in 6 men will develop prostate cancer. In the United States, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. It is the second most common form of cancer in the world (skin cancer is number one). Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, behind lung cancer. 

However, in comparison to overall causes of death, only 3 to 5 percent of American men die from prostate cancer, while 35 percent of men die of heart disease. Ninety-four to 98 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive 10 to 20 years later. Prostate cancer is not a death sentence. 

This good news derives from a four-pronged approach: 

• Prevention through lifestyle changes like diet and exercise (Prost-ate cancer is 70 percent lifestyle and 30 percent hereditary, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation). 

• Early diagnosis through prostate-specific antigen screenings plus a digital rectal exam. 

• Better treatment options for localized disease (cancer confined to prostate), including active surveillance as well as surgery and radiation, with fewer side-effects. 

• Better control of advanced disease (cancer outside prostate gland). 

When prostate cancer is small, it is also silent, with no symptoms. That is why routine testing is so important to detect cancer as early as possible. Because of screening, most prostate cancer diagnosed today (93 percent) is found at an early stage and has not spread to other parts of the body. 

In recent years, the press has reported on results of several scientific studies that at best have provoked discussion in the medical community of the advancing science, art and timing of screening for prostate cancer, as well as whether to swiftly treat every early localized disease or to “go slow,” monitoring the cancer (active surveillance) until treatment is needed. Unfortunately this discussion has led to much confusion among men and the public in general. 

To help dispel this confusion and provide answers (and as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month), the specialists with the Hearst Cancer Resource Center at French Hospital Medical Center and The Wellness Community are offering a free educational forum about the disease. The forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the French Hospital Auditorium. Registration is required and a complimentary meal will be served. 

Tom Comar is the president of the Central Coast Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants group and a prostate cancer survivor. 

© 2010 San Luis Obispo Tribune and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.


And now….this view the role that diet and lifestyle play in prostate cancer.  What’s a man to do? I’d say have a good lifestyle and a good diet, but don’t count on it preventing you from getting prostate cancer.


The New York Times


Prostate Cancer Overview

In-Depth From A.D.A.M. Risk Factors

The major risk factors for prostate cancer are age, family history, and ethnicity. 


Prostate cancer occurs almost exclusively in men over age 40 and most often after age 50. Two-thirds of prostate cancers are found in men over age 65. By age 70, about 65% of men have at least microscopic evidence of prostate cancers. Fortunately, the cancer is usually very slow growing and older men with the cancer typically die of something else. 

Family History and Genetic Factors

Heredity plays a role in some types of prostate cancers. Men with a family history of the disease have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Having one family member with prostate cancer doubles a man’s own risk, and having three family members increases risk by 11-fold. A specific gene, named HPC1 (for “hereditary prostate cancer”) is associated with this inherited type of the disease. 

Scientists are researching other genetic variations that may increase prostate cancer risk. 


A gene is a short segment of DNA which is interpreted by the body as a plan or template for building a specific protein. Genes reside within long strands of DNA which in turn make up the chromosomes.

Race and Ethnicity

African-American men have higher rates of prostate cancer than men of other races. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at a younger age and to have more aggressive forms of the disease. However, race alone does fully explain this difference. Prostate cancer is more common in North America and northern Europe, and less common in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Diet and other factors may play a role. For example, Asians who live in the United States have a higher rate of prostate cancer than those who live in Asia. 


Male hormones (androgens), particularly testosterone, may play a role in the development or aggressiveness of prostate cancer. Other types of hormones, such as the growth hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), may also be associated with some types of prostate cancer. 

Inflammation and Infection

Researchers are studying whether prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) may be associated with increased prostate cancer risk. They are also examining the possible relationship between prostate cancer and sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes virus and human papillomavirus , but no definite association has yet been found. 

Dietary Factors

Because a Western lifestyle is associated with prostate cancer, so dietary factors have been intensively studied. Results have been inconsistent and inconclusive, however. 

Fats. Some studies have found an association between high fat-intake and prostate cancer. In particular, high consumption of red meat and high-fat dairy products has been linked to increased risk for prostate cancer. In contrast, the omega-3 fats in fish may be protective. 

Vegetables and Fruits. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and legumes appears to protect against prostate cancer. However, it is not clear whether this is due to the nutrients contained in these foods, or the fact that these foods are low in fat. No specific vegetable or fruit has been proven to decrease risk. Lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, has been a target of research interest, but the evidence for its protective benefit is still inconclusive. 

Vitamins and Minerals . Major clinical studies have found that vitamin and mineral supplements (vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D, and selenium) do not prevent prostate cancer. Nutritious foods that are part of a healthy diet are the best sources for vitamins and minerals. A high intake of calcium has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in some studies. 

5-ARI Drugs for Prostate Cancer Prevention

Finasteride (Proscar, generic) and dutasteride (Avodart) are drugs used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). They block an enzyme that converts testosterone to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the form of the male hormone that stimulates the prostate. These medications belong to a drug class called 5-alpha-reductase (5-ARI) inhibitors. 

In 2009, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Urological Association (AUA) issued a joint guideline recommending that doctors discuss the pros and cons of the use of 5-ARIs for prostate cancer prevention with men who: 

  • Have a PSA score of 3.0 or below
  • Are being screened yearly for prostate cancer
  • Do not yet show signs of prostate cancer

ASCO/AUA also recommended that patients who already take finasteride or dutasteride for controlling urinary symptoms of BPH should talk with their doctors about continuing to take the drug for prostate cancer prevention. 

The guideline is the first to recommend drug therapy for preventing prostate cancer. It was based on results of a large 7-year clinical trial that showed that finasteride reduced the overall relative risk of developing prostate cancer by about 25%. However, in this study, a few more men who took finasteride developed a high-grade aggressive form of prostate cancer than the men who did not take finasteride. More recent studies have suggested that 5-ARI drugs may not increase the risk of developing aggressive cancer. It is still unclear if finasteride is an appropriate preventive approach, and not all doctors agree with the ASCO/AUA guideline. 

Finasteride and dutasteride may cause reduced sexual drive and problems with erection during the first 1 – 2 years of use. It is not yet known what the long-term effects of 5-ARIs are if they are taken for longer than 7 years. 

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC’s accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.’s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

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a movie so crass and awkwardly cast ... that even I could be the star...the shins

This is the number on thing on Twitter today if you search prostate cancer. I’ve read it but don’t quite get what I am supposed to glean from it. Dutch men are in the dark about the prostate? Here’s the thing and why the American Cancer Society’s stance on screening is potentially harmful: The problem here in the US and for the Dutch is awareness. If you divert the issue from awareness to all the talk about the harm of having a PSA done, then you miss the focused opportunity to strike at the primary issue. Men need to know that they can have prostate cancer without symptoms and they should have regular check-ups with their primary doctor. Once that is done, the primary doctor will handle the awareness part. So, why not recommend that men have yearly check-up with their family doctor? Enough about all the harm perpetrated on the lil ole male because some mean ole doctor did a PSA and subjected him to the “potential” of a biopsy, and the “potential” of having a low-grade prostate cancer, and the “potential” of being treated, and the “potential” of having a complication, and the “potential” of curing one of his prostate cancer. 

I read that Otis Brawley years ago stated he did not believe in the PSA and wasn’t going to get one done on himself. Well……..why worry about the Dutch…..they are doing what Dr. Brawley is doing….that is smart and informed …. right? 

Prostate Cancer Screening Urgently Needed Amongst Dutch Men 

18 Sep 2010 

A recent TNS NIPO survey, on behalf of the Dutch Association of Urology (NVU) and the European Association of Urology (EAU), showed that almost four out of 10 Dutch men of 50 years and older suffer, or have suffered, from urinary complaints. The same number of men also said in the same survey they are worried that they may have prostate cancer. 

The TNS NIPO survey also indicated that a significantly larger number of men that suffer, or have suffered, from urinary complaints expressed the concern of having prostate cancer as compared to men without urinary complaints. Hundreds of thousands of men suffer from prostate complaints, however, many of them often do not seek medical help because they see them as a normal part of growing older or because their complaints do not hamper them in daily life. 

Of note was the survey finding that practically all men who have participated in the Dutch study said that they would prefer to have an annual check or screening for prostate cancer. The widely used screening called the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, however, is not known to the vast majority of survey participants. The conclusion is that reliable information is urgently needed. 

The study results were released during the annual official European prostate awareness day, part of the ongoing Urology Week activities. The Dutch and European associations for urologists (NVU and EAU) are collaborating to inform people about the prostate and the most common prostate-related diseases that affect many men. 

A public information campaign is being held in downtown Amsterdam. At the Dam square right on the central shopping district, a walk-through, giant model of a prostate is displayed to acquaint the general public of the prostate and its ailments. Urologists will be available to answer questions from the public. 

About prostate awareness day / Urology Week 

Urology Week is an initiative of the EAU. It is a public awareness week, held annually in September, to inform people, especially men over 50, about urological diseases, their treatments and the work of the urologist. September 15 is dedicated to inform the public about prostate conditions. Numerous activities are being organised all over Europe such as public information meetings and events. 

Prostate conditions have a negative impact on men’s quality of life. If a man’s prostate increases in size, part of his urethra may be compressed, which leads to urinary problems. Prostate conditions are often underestimated, ignored and wrongly perceived as part of the ageing process. Urologists and healthcare professionals, however, stress the importance of timely medical attention to various prostate conditions, their risks and treatments. 

About TNS NIPO survey: ‘Knowledge about the prostate’ 

The urological associations NVU and EAU have commissioned TNS NIPO to conduct a survey into the knowledge of Dutch men about the prostate and prostate conditions. This survey sheds light on the attitude, knowledge and behaviour of men 50 years of age and older regarding prostate complaints. The survey results are being published on the occasion of Prostate Day. 

TNS NIPO survey: ‘Knowledge about the prostate’ 

Method: CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) 

Target group: Men of 50 years and older 

Period: 11-18 August 2010 


Almost 4 out of ten men aged 50 years and older suffers, or has suffered, from urinary complaints. Men who have never suffered from urinary complaints practically all say that they would visit their GP if they did. However in fact not everybody does; only a little over twothirds of men who suffer – or have suffered – from urinary complaints visit their GP. Men who do not, indicate that urinary complaints are part of growing older and that their complaints do not hamper them in daily life. 

The majority of men of 50 years and older know where to locate the prostate on a visual. 

Almost two thirds of men of 50 years and older has never heard of the PSA value. The group of men who has heard of it think it is used to prevent or indicate (prostate) cancer or determine the condition of the prostate or prostate problems. 

According to men of 50 and older, prostate enlargement and prostate problems primarily cause urinary complaints. Most of the men know that the prostate enlarges when they are growing older. 

Some of the precautions men take to keep their prostate healthy are: urinating while sitting down and paying attention to their diet. Men who suffer, or have suffered, from urinary problems indicate more frequently that they take precautionary measures to keep their prostate healthy compared to men who have never suffered from urinary problems. 

Four out of 10 men regularly think about getting prostate cancer. This goes for more than half of the men who suffer, or have suffered, from prostate cancer. Almost all men of 50 years and older feel it is important have an annual prostate cancer check. 


Lindy Brouwer 

European Association of Urology


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a wise man doesn't need advice-a fool won't take it


My Listmania page on Amazon…Famous and interesting men with prostate cancer. 

I love history and particularly biographies that not only tell you about the  person but the times in which they lived. 

For instance: Timothy Leary’s life was crazy. Lennon wrote “Come Together” for his gubernatorial race in California against Ronald Regan. He did not complete the race because he was arrested for possession of marijuana. Amazing, and that’s just the tip of the Leary iceberg. 

Unfortunately, while researching this list, I came upon the following this am. 

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Why is Dennis Hopper, who is suffering from prostate cancer, divorcing his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, after nearly 14 years of marriage? Because, he said in a statement, he wants “to spend these difficult days surrounded by my children and close friends.”

The star, who was diagnosed with cancer in September, has just begun a new round of chemotherapy drugs, reports BBC News.

Hopper’s spokesman said the star and his wife had been “having trouble” and now he just “wants peace and quiet.” His  daughter Marin said in a statement: “Dennis is brave, and he is fighting a hell of a battle.”

Hopper filed his petition to divorce Duffy at Los Angeles Superior Court last week. He is seeking joint legal and physical custody of the couple’s daughter, six-year-old daughter, Galen.

my thoughts

The dual nature of prostate cancer is something poorly understood by most people. There is the one you’ve heard about, the one your grandfather had, and his family doctor said, ” We’ll leave him alone. He’ll die with it, not of it.”

Then there is the Frank Zappa kind. The cancer is diagnosed in September (like Hopper’s was) and then supposedly dying of it in January.  This Hopper situation illuminates the premier issue about prostate cancer. Which PSA is the one that means you have the Hopper kind of prostate cancer? Which biopsy means you have the Hopper/Zappa kind? Why had Hopper not had a rectal exam and PSA exam to diagnose this earlier? I have looked at several articles and have not seen anything to tell me what happened. The fact that he is on chemotherapy as reported means that he was diagnosed late, and that his prognosis is guarded. It’s a shame. Men should have rectals from forty on and PSA’s as well to prevent this. I have seen it as a urologist myself many times. Delayed diagnosis is the perfect storm-men don’t want a rectal, there are misconceptions that all prostate cancers are the same and then the incessant articles on the net saying that biopsies and PSA’s are over done. And now you have the Hopper syndrome, and the 30,000 others that die of prostate cancer each year in the USA.

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