Dr. Stacy Loeb is an assistant professor of urology and population health at New York university (NYU) specializing in prostate cancer and is one of the prostate cancer foundation’s funded young investigators.
Dr. Loeb is an internationally recognized expert in prostate cancer with more than 285 peer-reviewed published articles and 11 book chapters.
Dr. Loeb also frequently gives international lectures on prostate cancer, social media and men’s health. Dr. Loeb also hosts the men’s health show on Sirius XM 110 satellite radio.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
A: The prostate is a gland found only in males that makes some of the fluid that is part of the semen. . The prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.it is the size of a walnut in younger men, but commonly gets larger as men get older. This condition is known as enlarged prostate, and may cause bothersome urinary symptoms but is not associated with cancer. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably.
Q: How does prostate cancer affect the African-American community? Why does it seem like prostate cancer is more aggressive in African-American men than other races?
A: African-American men are significantly more likely to develop prostate cancer, and have more than twice the risk of dying from prostate cancer. The reason for this disparity is a major topic of scientific investigation and a priority area of research for the prostate cancer foundation. There are many possible contributors to this issue ranging from genetic factors to differences in access to quality medical care. Data shows that African-American men are less likely to be advised about cancer screenings and less likely to undergo surgery.
Q: What are the risks associated with prostate cancer?
A: Age is the biggest risk for prostate cancer, but is not the only risk factor. Other important factors include: family history, genetic factors, race, and lifestyle habits. Genes for disease can run in families. Therefore, men who have a relative with prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease, while those with two or more relatives are nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed. The risk is even higher if affected family members were diagnosed before the age of 65.
Q: How often should you get tested for prostate cancer?
A: It is very important for African-American men to talk to their doctor about prostate cancer screening. I recommend a baseline screening in the early 40’s. This value gives a lot of information about a man’s risk of ever developing life-threating prostate cancer. The baseline screening results and other risk factors can be used to determine how often testing is needed after that.
Q: What are some of the cutting edge developments for prostate cancer?
A: We are in the midst of a very exciting time in prostate cancer research, with new advances and discoveries being made every day. For example, research funded by the prostate cancer foundation showed that the brca gene (a mutation known to be associated with breast cancer) is also associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. These cancers respond to different types of treatment than what is traditionally used for prostate cancer. In the future, we will see more and more “precision medicine” where treatment will be tailored to the specific genetic alterations in the individual patient.
Q: What is the “know your numbers” campaign?
A: The “know your numbers” campaign kicked-off in April. It is a national men’s health initiative geared to shed light about the significant disparities that exist between men of African descent and other ethnicities, and to raise awareness about the risk factors associated with prostate cancer. For more information, you can visit: www.pcf.org/knowthenumbers.
Q: What type of effect does the diet have on the prostate?
A: Many different factors influence prostate cancer risk. It does have a large genetic component, but lifestyle factors also play a significant role. Parsing out these factors is complicated and is a major area of research. Generally speaking, a Mediterranean diet is thought to be potentially beneficial for the prostate, including ly copene (found in tomato products). By contrast, charred meat and excess dairy are thought to be potentially harmful. Overall, what is heart-healthy is prostate healthy.