Prostate Mysteries Explored

HPIM0643.JPGAlthough all men have one, the prostate continues to be a puzzling gland, prone to cancer, beset by enlargement, and troubled by infection.

Almost 230,000 men were diagnosed with a form of prostate cancer in 2005, the latest year for federal data. Another 29,000 men died from the disease.

The rate of prostate cancer is eight to 10 times higher in African-American men, who also suffer a higher rate of aggressive tumors and at an earlier age.

Virtually all men who live long enough develop prostate cancer.

Yet relatively few studies have been done on prostate cancer because most patients are reluctant to enter clinical trials.

N’Zinga Shani decided to spread some much needed information about prostate health, on her cable public-access program “21st Century Conversations.” The program will be shown several times on Connecticut cable stations. (Check your local guide for details.)

On the show, Dr. John Colberg (at right in photo), director of urologic oncology at the Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. William Kevin Kelly (at left), associate professor of medicine at Yale, and who concentrates on investigating new therapies for prostate cancer, attempted to dispel the myths and misinformation about the prostate.

Why black men face much higher odds of prostate cancer is not known, they said. The causes of prostate cancer might become clearer if more people entered clinical trials, Kelly said. African American men tend not to trust white scientists for historical reasons, the doctors said.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Cancer Partnership awarded the Yale Cancer Center in March with a $745,288 grant to create a clinical trials network in the state to promote research.

Today, most prostate cancer is diagnosed before any symptoms appear, the doctors said, and deciding on a course of treatment can be complicated. Current blood tests for Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA, require require interpretation, Colberg and Kelly said.

Furthermore, the prostate tends to expand with age, making diagnosis of cancer even trickier.

The prostate is a golf-ball sized gland beneath the bladder, surrounding the urethra. The gland expands during sex and produces a portion of seminal fluid, Colberg said. Seminal vesicles also connect to the urethra within the prostate.

When a man ejaculates the prostate contracts, pushing semen down the urethra and out of the penis.

Sometimes prostates become chronically infected, producing a condition called prostatitis. Prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics and does not increase the risk of other prostate problems.

Many men over age 50 develop Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, a non-cancerous growth of the prostate that leads to difficulty in urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and inability to completely empty the bladder.

This condition can be treated with alpha-blocking drugs, which relax the muscles inside the prostate, allowing the urethra to expand.

While BPH can be irritating, it rarely interferes with sex, Kelly said, Colberg said. Several medications for other conditions can cause erectile dysfunction. So can stress, depression, and low testosterone levels, Kelly said.

Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testicles that drives sex and also stimulates growth of the prostate, he said.

Most men past age 50, have blood tests for Prostate Specific Antigen. This test was developed in the 1980s to follow men already diagnosed with prostate cancer, and is now used as a screening tool.

The problem is that PSA levels can increase because of BPH or prostate cancer. Some men have naturally high amounts of PSA, and others with prostate cancer do not show increased PSA.

Consequently, a baseline PSA measurement should be taken so that subsequent checks can reveal whether the level is increasing, Collberg and Kelly said.
Drugs used to treat non-cancerous prostate growth may mask prostate cancer.

This is why a digital exam is so important, Colberg said. Most men have an aversion to this test because the only way the physician can feel the prostate is through the rectum with a gloved finger.  A healthy prostate feels firm and smooth. A hard, rough prostate may be cancerous and a biopsy should be performed.

A biopsy generally involves inserting 12 extremely narrow tubes into the prostate.  The samples are then examined by a pathologist.

Any cancer found is rated on the Gleason scale according to the rate at which it is growing. An older man with a slowly growing cancer might elect to follow active surveillance rather than face the risks of surgery, Collberg said.

Prostate cancer in younger patients is usually more aggressive. About 50 to 60 percent of prostate cancer surgery is now done robotically, meaning that the surgeon’s hand movements are translated to small instruments inserted in the lower abdomen, along with a camera and lights.

The side effects of prostate surgery include incontinence, and erectile dysfunction, both of which can be treated, Kelly said.

Prostate cancer can also be treated with radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and brachytherapy, in which tiny beads of a radioactive isotope are placed in the prostate.

The age and condition of the patient and the type of prostate cancer all have to be taken into consideration before a course of action is decided upon, the doctors said.
Kelly said the main risk factors for prostate cancer are age and family history.

Some studies suggest that a low-fat diet high in fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of prostate cancer, he said.

Meanwhile, researchers are developing methods of detecting abnormal prostate cells in the blood. This would be a better screening tool, Kelly said.

Chemotherapy designed for specific patients is also under development.
In May scientists at Yale and the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven found molecular markers in prostate cancer biopsy samples that are associated with higher death rates.

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posted by: Walt on October 6, 2009  7:31am

Would have skipped this article a year ago.  as I knew almost nothing about cancer, and wanted to keep it that way.

Jumping PSA led my GP to   suggest biopsies and sure as hell I had it,

Now in 3rd week out of nine weeks of daily radiation which hopefully will kill it.. 

Not bad so far.

Much better than the alternative.

St.  Raph’s,  as well as Yale-NH has well-reputed Cancer Center with all the treatment options. 

This year , just in time for me, they opened a Cancer Treatment branch on Whitney Ave.  just north of Skiff St.  in Hamden.

New,  modern place with very pleasant and   helpful doctors   staff including blood takers and dietician (Same folks as the Hospital facility.)

If the Doc says get biopsies etc.  don’t, as I did,  think he is out of his mind,  Get checked and get   treatment if needed.

Not bad at all and may save your life.

posted by: Walt on October 6, 2009  7:05pm

My understanding is that surgical removal of the prostate.,  which fortunately I did not need.  100%  guarantees no intercourse in the future,

Hormones,  which I did require,  pretty well does the same,  but   ,  as the prostate still exists and   starts to work again, maybe with a little Viagra or other help,  after the hormone treatments   cease abilities return

Never heard of Peyronnes Disease but as the ability to have intercourse without Lincoln Logs etc has already gone,  cant make that particular problem worse.

Am I off om this??

Source?  Co-Director of St.  Raph.  Cancer Center,  Dr.  Joe Cardinale

posted by: Mr & Mrs on October 6, 2009  11:32pm

Thanks OneWorld, this is really good information. Although I have been married for many years, I did not know exactly what the purpose of the prostate gland was and how it worked in the male body. This article is really very helpful to both my husband and I.  We have printed it out and will read and discuss it together. This information also serves to encourage us to learn more.  The fact that OneWorld concentrates on health care literacy, produces these informative TV programs and provides such beneficial information on the website is an excellent service to the community.  Thank you all.

posted by: JP on October 8, 2009  9:04pm

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer (PC) three years ago when I was 60. Although I was well informed on the basic facts pertaining to PC, I soon relized that I needed to learn much more. I commend N’Zinga Shani, 21st Century Conversations and her guests for this valuable public service program. Most of the media provided information on PC focuses on testing and diagnosis. Great to see that this program provided essential information on treatment options.  I recommend a follow-up program that provides more details on treatment options. Men diagnosed with PC and their families need as much help as they can get to decide what is best for them.

posted by: Marvin on October 9, 2009  1:56pm

This statement below was delivered to OneWorld with a request that it be posted here.  We thank Marvin for his contribution and commitment to educating others.

“Approximately 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer (PC).  When a urologist tells you that you have PC it really blows you out of the water. While I got regular PSAs, I didn’t want to get a biopsy because I was afraid of the possible outcome.  When I got my results I was not sure what to do next.  There is a great deal of information to be absorbed; it is the worst time to try and remember and focus on all the different pieces of information coming at you. This is why having a program such as this “21st Century Conversations” on the public access station where we can get good information before we are ill is very important and extremely beneficial.  Men on my job were talking about this article today.

Peyronies Disease causes pain and suffering whether a man is able to have sex or not. (Peyronie’s disease is the development of abnormal scar tissue, or plaques, in tissues inside the penis. When a penis affected by Peyronie’s (pa-ro-NEEZ) disease is erect, it’s usually bent and may be painful.  Peyronie’s disease may prevent a man from having sex, and men with Peyronie’s disease often experience stress or anxiety related to this disorder)

Sadly, I cannot recall being told any of this about Peyronies Disease before my pinpoint radiation treatment.  The reason I ended up taking the pinpoint radiation is because the size of my prostate was out of the scale that the doctors measure to determine if you can get the seed implantation.  One of the steps I would strongly recommend is that men talk to a professional who understands the many issues they might face, and who can help them to address each of these issues before they decide on which treatment to select; and (it is important to) get to know the possible side effects of each treatment method.  My big mistake was in thinking that I could go it alone.  Please do not go it alone; you need help in reaching the best decision, and that help should not come from only the treating physician.

What I did not know about pinpoint radiation is that it could still damage healthy tissue and cause a lot of scaring that then lead to other physical problems; no one explained that to me. 

I understand that the newer treatments are easier; however, I strongly encourage men to find a competent professional (besides the treating physician) to talk to and go over all options and their side effects.  I cannot stress that enough.  Also, please take every opportunity offered to learn all that you can before you are faced with this problem.”


posted by: Dave B. Jr on October 9, 2009  10:02pm

This is another health topic of key importance. Unfortunately, many of us men allow our pride and egos to get in the way of accessing this type of information.  These days it is impossible to get any physician to spend more than a few minutes with you during an appointment.  I commend these Yale doctors who make themselves available in this way; this is truly laudable.

I read the above comments and I think it is very generous of JP and Marvin to share their personal stories.  All I have to say is this—don’t allow pride to take the place of common sense. While a DRE is not pleasant it is a lot more tolerable and less dangerous than prostate cancer. As we age we are more likely to have an enlarged prostate or to get prostatitis.  However, with regular check ups, PSA blood tests and the DRE exam, we can live a healthy life. Even if we get any of these things when caught early they can be treated very effectively. Let us all pay more attention to these types of programs; they are very beneficial.  Again, thanks to OneWorld, the Yale doctors and the New Haven Independent.  This article is a real education for us men.

posted by: jeffrey dach md on October 12, 2009  10:35am

Although PSA screening eradicated advanced prostate cancer from the population, there was a downside.

According to Welch’s report in August JNCI, one million men were overdiagnosed and overtreated for prostate cancer over the last twenty years.

Why was PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer, a 20 year failed Medical Experiment ? Get the whole story here…

posted by: OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc. on October 13, 2009  12:51am

OneWorld Comments on Prostate Mysteries Explored
  This article written by Abram Katz is a valuable contribution to the community.  The article reflects the information provided during the pre-discussion as well as the LIVE broadcast at Citizens Television on Sept. 29, 2009.  The article does not contain information about Peyronies Disease because we did not discuss Peyronies Disease during the program.  This program was not just about Prostate Cancer, but a community education program about Prostate Health; the article is about what occurred during the program discussions.  We commend Mr. Katz for his reporting and are grateful to the doctors for their time, expertise and commitment to OneWorld’s education efforts. We also appreciate the support of the NHI.
  As producers of the program “21st Century Conversations”  it was not our intention, nor that of the doctors to ignore Peyronies Disease as an important issue; however, we did not discuss it because it is not listed among the common side effects of treatment for prostate cancer. This is not to ignore the unique experiences of men who have been so affected. The doctors responded to the questions we asked them to address. When we take on a topic as broad as “Prostate Health,” it is impossible to address it comprehensively in a one hour LIVE broadcast, or during a total of about 100 mins open discussion. 

Secondly, we invited members of the community to come to the station to ask their own questions. This is a part of our effort to engage the broader community in these health literacy programs; however, it also means that we give up full control of the program, and might not get to cover all of the issues we, or the doctors consider most important to the topic. It does reflect what community participants consider most important to them as individuals. Our goal is to help the community become better informed about issues of concerned. We are grateful to all who post comments and add to the reservoir of available information.

Peyronies Disease  is an important issue to be discussed when men are exploring their options for treatment of prostate cancer. It is not listed in the literature as a side effect; however, that does not mean it has not happened to individual men.  As Marvin said is his comment, regardless of how competent we feel as individuals, when we are faced with critical health issues it is best to have a trusted and competent professional (in addition to the treating physician/s) who is knowledgeable about the issue in question and can help you to sort through the volume of information you will get or need to get in order to make the best decision for you the individual.

Peyronies disease is not a problem commonly associated with men who have had treatment for prostate cancer; in fact it exists in about one percent of all men and even in teenage boys. 

There are a variety of resources on the Internet about Peyronies; however, it is important and helpful to sit and talk with a urologist about this.  Among the many sites that provide information are: <a href=“” rel=“nofollow”></a> and Peyronies Disease Institute
Since the article appeared in the New Haven Independent, we have had a few calls with questions about Prostatitis and BPH. OneWorld does not provide answers to medical questions. The program was widely promoted and men and their partners were invited to come to CTV and participate in the FREE education forum. Doctors John Colberg, Associate Professor of Urology, Yale Cancer Center (203) 785-2815, and Dr. Kevin Kelly, Assoc. Professor of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center, (203) 737-2572 are available for consultation. Father McGivney Cancer Center (203) 789-3131 also has urologic/oncology experts.  The OneWorld web site will have much more detailed information obtained through various medical resources; DVD copies of the program are available from OneWorld. Here are other links to a wide array of information about prostate health. 
Link to the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services Comprehensive

<a href=“” rel=“nofollow”></a>

Surviving Prostate Cancer –Link to article in AARP Magazine by Jay Griffin

U.S. Cancer Screening Trial Shows

posted by: Christopher on October 14, 2009  1:39pm

Unfortunately, until men become adults they learn nothing about the function and role of the prostate gland. There are many adult men who have no idea where this gland is located, how it works, and certainly not how it affects the ways in which a man functions.  As we age we start to hear about PSA testing.  I think one of the reasons that many men do not want to have a PSA test and the DRE exam is because they do not appreciate how important it is. There is not one man I know who would not want to be able to sexually function in a healthy way.

What is so helpful about this article is that it provides good basic information about the role and function of the prostate. It does not just focus on prostate cancer, but it tells us how the prostate gland works and some of the other things that can go wrong such as the BPH and prostatitis. My grandfather had problems for a long time, but never went to the doctor because he assumed he had cancer; he had prostatitis. He suffered needlessly out of ignorance. This TV program is a gift because it is providing us with essential information that we all need.

posted by: WC on October 15, 2009  11:32pm

Another very informative and highly beneficial program from OneWorld Progressive Institute.  This is what can happen when public access facilities are being used in the manner they were intended.  I congratulate these doctors who doate their time; the New Haven Independent that provides the coverage, and N’Zinga Shani for her commitment to educating the broader community.

posted by: Heather on October 15, 2009  11:43pm

There are many fairly informed people who know nothing about the prostate gland.  Unless something goes wrong with it, most men never think about it.  Why would they.  We have a friend who just went through a difficult time with prostatitis; he was miserable for weeks; it was only when he mentioned to someone older about the difficulties he was having, and that person told him that he had a similar problem that he learned about prostatitis.  He was thinking that he had contracted a deadly disease.

We in the community need this type of information more than most of us realize.  We are all so busy we tend not to pay attention until something goes wrong.  I think it is wonderful that programs such as 21st Century Conversations exit to help in this very valuable way. With the problems we have in health care today doctors have no time to educate; we are lucky to get a doctor to talk to us for 10 mins during an appointment.  I think this program and the article are really helpful.  Thanks everyone.

posted by: Allan on October 17, 2009  4:01am

This is the type of info we should get in the church.  All these churches we have in NH that aren’t doing much good for the people should take time out to tell people about stuff like this prostate problem.  They preach against drugs and talk about tithing; they should talk more about health problems.  Many people can’t afford insurance no more; more church should have health class and education class to help out; that is like christian charity; help thy neighbor and members.

posted by: William on October 17, 2009  11:06pm

Benigh Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) often has no symptoms in many men.  However, some of us do have symptoms and those symptoms vary.  As the weather turns colder some of us with BPH experience more severe symptoms.  With all the flu going around men need to talk to skilled urologists to make sure we only take meds that will not increase these symptoms.  In cold weather bladder problems might be the most common effects of BPH.

It is a very good idea for men to do some research, ask questions and get informed about prostate health before a problem arise.  This is an excellent article and some of the comments are truly valuable.  It is remarkable that a program such as this 21st Century Conversations is produced on public access; as a result of this program I do not mind paying my cable charges. The doctors at Yale who devote time to presenting information and answering questions are to be commended for their community service. OneWorld Progressive Institute is a shining example of the benefits of volunteerism and joint efforts. The NH Independent fills an important niche.

posted by: Paul Bass on October 25, 2009  3:41pm

test comment

posted by: Sylvia on October 26, 2009  12:43am

Programs such as this one is very important to help us all to understand about various aspects of our health.  Many men come down with prostate problems because they do not understand how to indentify the problems early; therefore, a TV program such as this is really helpful.  Only this past week there was a firestorm about if men should be screened for prostate cancer.  The fact that screening identifies cancer earlier in many men is proof that it is beneficial.  African American men NEED to be screened and told their results.  It is up to them what they do with the information.  Seeing that black men tend to have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, and that these cancers can be treated effectively when they are found early, I have to wonder what is the purpose of the announcement.
My family and I commend OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc and N’Zinga Shani for putting on these programs that provide us with good health care information. Thank you all.

posted by: The Bryants on October 26, 2009  4:00am

Last week Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society (ACS) made a very disturbing statement about prostate and breast cancer screenings. Many of us were distressed. After a strong response by the media they the ACS issued another statement.

According to this new statement by the American Cancer Society last week “While the advantages of screening for some cancers have been overstated, there are advantages, especially in the case of breast, colon and cervical cancers. Mammography is effective – mammograms work and women should continue to get them… The American Cancer Society stands by its recommendation that women age 40 and over should receive annual mammography, and women at high risk should talk with their doctors about when screening should begin based on their family history.”

Dr. Brawley also addressed prostate cancer screening in his new statement.

“Since 1997 the American Cancer Society has recommended that men talk to their doctor and make an informed decision about whether or not prostate cancer early detection testing is right for them. This recommendation also still stands.”

This is hardly a reassuring statement. If the guidelines are the same as they were before, why did Dr. Brawley have to make a statement at all?  It seems that in this TV program “21st Century Conversations” offered by OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., the doctors were very clear and the article by Mr. Katz is very helpful.  The comment made by Marvin is also very helpful about what men need to do.  We think that this type of public access education program by OneWorld- where people can go into the studio and ask questions and get specific information- is better than a confusing statement made by some person far away.  The problem is - Dr. Brawley occupies a position of great influence; most people will take his word over those of single doctors. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, what was Dr. Brawley’s intent?  Maybe the American Cancer Society was looking for a little more visibility. We thought that the role of the ACS was to make things more clear for the non-medical people.

The OneWorld web site has very good information and links to places such as the National Institute of Health and other resources that provide much more detailed information that anyone who visit will find very helpful. This is a great service to the community.

posted by: Richard Beckford on October 26, 2009  2:13pm

In 2005, 230K men were diagnosed with prostate cancer; 29K died.  Black men have more aggressive forms of prostate cancer and are 8-10 times more likely to get prostate cancer.  We learn all of this from this excellent article by Mr. Katz.  It is most unfortunate that an organization as large and as powerful as the American Cancer Society cannot provide more up-to-date information than from 2005! We are at the end of 2009.  Why aren’t there more up-to-date figures on prostate cancer? We must wonder how much politics is involved.

Doctors Colberg and Kelly come to us well credentialed; they are Yale cancer specialists. They are to be commended for their cooperation with OneWorld Progressive Institute in bringing the community these free and very valuable education programs; not many physicians provide free education services by reaching out to the community.  We applaud N’Zinga Shani for her commitment.  We hope Yale will be using the $745K grant they got this year to help to find answers to the question of why it is that black men get such higher rate of cancers.

Before Dr. Brawley complicated the issue with his confusing comment these doctors made it clear through Mr. Katz’ article that PSA tests require interpretation.  It seems that they made a sound case for proper screening and monitoring.  It seems logical that if there is no regular screening many more men will die from prostate cancer because they will show up to their urologists only when they have symptoms and that will be too late to get effective treatments.  Many of us over 50 have to deal with BPH, prostatitis and ED.  If we do not talk to our urologists how will we know what is going on? 

Dr. Bawley’s comment seems to be a disservice especially to black men. It would be good to hear what drs Kelly and Colberg have to say about Dr. Brawley’s comment.  Men should be encouraged to continue to have their PSA tests.  We need those baseline PSA measurements so that we know what is a “normal reading” for each of us.  We can then work with our doctors going forward.

For men with no health insurance, I urge them to go to the community or hospital clinics in their areas and get a PSA blood test and a digital rectal (DRE) exam.  Do not listen to Dr. Brawley. I am quite sure he gets screened because he can do it himself and he has colleagues who will do it for him.  African American men die twice as many as white men from prostate cancer!  Get screened so that with your doctor’s help you can decide which is the best course of action for you to take.  Be proactive and choose health; do not allow fear and ignorance to govern your lives. Black men, there is nothing wrong with getting PSA and DRE tests; your longevity might depend on it.

We are asking OneWorld to make copies of the TV program available to the public so that we can see and hear exactly what the doctors had to say and we can discuss it with our own urologist; this is important.  We also encourage OneWorld to put as much information as they can on the web site. Thanks to Yale and OneWorld.

posted by: ZBT on October 26, 2009  3:42pm

To get really up to date info about prostate cancer anyone can go to a site named They have the latest information about testing and screening on all types of cancers.  Unfortunately, those who need it most are the ones who are the least likely to get screened. Forget about the myths and suspicions; they are what will kill you.  If you are 50 and older go get screened ASAP.  You have nothing to lose.

posted by: Sylvia on October 27, 2009  8:44pm

Programs such as this one is very important to help us all to understand about various aspects of our health.  Many men come down with prostate problems because they do not understand how to indentify the problems early; therefore, a TV program such as this is really helpful.  Only yesterday there was a firestorm about if men should be screened for prostate cancer.  The fact that screening identifies cancer earlier in many men is proof that it is beneficial.  African American men NEED to be screened and told their results.  It is up to them what they do with the information.  Seeing that black men tend to have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, and that these cancers can be treated effectively when they are found early, I have to wonder what is the purpose of the announcement.

My family and I commend OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc and N’Zinga Shani for putting on these programs that provide us with good health care information. Thank you all.

posted by: Linda on October 27, 2009  9:36pm

After reading this article, I decided to find out from my boyfriend, a 38-yr-old black male, if he was ever tested for prostate cancer.  To my surprise, he has not been tested for prostate cancer.  Last year, my close firend of 10 years lost his dad to prostate cancer; however, he refuses to have a prostate examination.

Unfortunately, men are less likely to seek medical attention compared to women.  I cannot imagine NOT wanting to know about my health.  In fact, I went for my yearly mammogram in 2007 and it was discovered that I had a lump in my right breast.  Thankfully, it was benign and I had it removed as a precautionary measure.  It is extremely important for men who are at high risk for developing prostrate cancer to get an examination.  The earlier the disease is detected the more likely it can be treated or cured.

Thank you “21st Century Conversations” and N’Zinga Shani for doing such a great job keeping us informed about the issues that affect both our community and family.

posted by: A. Ruggiero on October 28, 2009  1:41pm

I would like to hear what the doctors from Yale have to say about how often men should be screened.  How do they know which men should be watched or monitored actively, and which ones should be treated right away?  How do they make that decision?  Yale is a research hospital; does that mean that they are more likely to treat or watch? Thanks to 21st Century Conversations for doing programs like this.  These days we are all so scared of bad news sometimes we just bury our heads in the hope that nothing bad will happen.

posted by: Sam on October 29, 2009  4:51pm

It’s actually quite simple, if you get the proper screening and take care of your body..your body will take care of you!

posted by: Dr. Y. Kriger, Ph.D. on October 29, 2009  5:21pm

Many men over age 50 develop enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).  The way of screening for enlarged prostate is unfortunately very controversial because it is bypassed by screening for prostate cancer.  BPH is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate that leads to problems in urinating.  The person with BPH has to have regular blood tests for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). The doctors use this test as a screening tool because the problem is that PSA levels can increase because of BPH or because of prostate cancer. The next two steps that the person with BPH has to follow up are: a digital (manual) exam and a biopsy.

Despite the fact that the digital test might be uncomfortable to some (in fact, most men have an aversion to it), the digital test doesn’t negatively affect a man’s health.  The most critical, stressful, and serious type of test is a biopsy. The person with BPH should have these tests performed if his PSA level is higher than a certain cut-off level; that may be helpful in diagnosing prostate cancer.  Men with BPH may experience significant emotional and health concerns because the problems associated with BPH can increase PSA levels.  This means PSA levels can increase because of BPH or prostate cancer.

Some men have naturally high amounts of PSA, and others with prostate cancer do not show increased PSA.  This shows how important to men any information about enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) really is and that they need to pay attention. Having the doctors from Yale in the studio so that we could ask questions was very helpful, and a good opportunity.

This public access TV program called “21st Century Conversations” recently hosted by N’Zinga Shani provided excellent information about prostate health.  It seems that it is very important to make prostate health information and other such important health programs a regular part of every public access programming.  We the public need this type of information.  We thank the cable public-access stations that carry these programs; we thank OneWorld and N’Zinga Shani for these excellent “21st Century Conversations” education programs and we thank the doctors for coming.

posted by: david ffrench on October 30, 2009  6:29pm

In today’s environment when health care coverage is being denied to so many people, having a free reliable source of health information is very important.  These doctors are making a valuable contribution to the community in going into the TV studio to answer questions.  Clearly, OneWorld Progressive Institute is doing something very special for the community in presenting these programs.  It is also good to get information from men who have been treated for prostate cancer or any of these other types of prostate problems. Doctors do not always understand or tell us some of the inside stories as other men will.  Being able to read those stories on this site is very helpful.  Keep it up everyone.

posted by: Bob Reilly on October 30, 2009  11:18pm

Thank you for some very good information on Prostate health.  I did not know what the auctal purpose of the gland was for until now.

I have forwarded the article by Dr. Katz onto my brother and some friends.


posted by: M. Palmieri on October 31, 2009  11:49am

As a cancer survivor, I welcome information which reflects male “inevitability” and includes the issues and question often avoided.  Based on my experience, many men know “less” about their bodies than women!  The program and the responses provided me with perspectives, insights and information which are timely.  Having several friends dealing with Prostate cancer, the program clarified different protocols, recent advances and the evolving technology.

posted by: Courtney on November 2, 2009  12:14am

Does anyone knows why black men have prostate cancer at an earlier age than other men, or why they have a more aggressive type of prostate cancer?  If we do not get this PSA screening from the age of 40 it seems logical that more of us black men will die of prostate cancer. If this disease do not always have symptoms until it is advanced, by the time we get symptoms it will be too late.  Getting screening starting at age 40 seems like a logical thing for black men to do regardless of what anyone else say.  We have to think for ourselves and do what makes sense to us.  I hope that the doctors at Yale, the people at OneWorld, or Mr. Katz will provide whatever additional information they have about screening for black men. Thanks everyone.

posted by: Winston, John & Carly on November 3, 2009  3:27pm

In high school science classes they teach us about the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.  they should also teach about the prostate gland and its functions.  It is an atiquated approach to education to not teach about the prostate, uterus, ovaries and other key organs that determine the quality of our lives as adults.
Many men and women know nothing about the prostate gland, the ovaries etc. because we were never taught; we only find out when something goes wrong and quite often it is too late to fix the problems.  High school science classes need to do a more comprehensive job.  Thanks OneWorld, Yale and NHI.

posted by: OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc on November 6, 2009  11:48am

We at OneWorld thank all those who have called, written and posted comments to this article about our program on prostate health.  Of course, we thank the doctors and the New Haven Independent.

We learned a great deal from many who called to ask questions or to provide us with information, but who would not post their comments or even their questions on this site. We were surprised by how many men knew nothing about the purpose and function of the prostate gland.  Some of the comments men made provided important teachable moments for us as producers of information and education programs.  Our hope is that it will make us more effective producers in the future.

In preparing for and in promoting this program we had 19 people registered to participate.  We had good weather and doctors who are tops in their field.  Yet, only four of the 19 people who registered actually came to the studio; the others who came were people who just showed up.  What happened to the 13 registrants who did not show up?  A few told me that they backed out because they did not want to ask certain questions in public.  This is exactly the reason why so many men suffer needlessly from BPH and prostatitis, and it is the reason that so many (and in particular African-American) men are diagnosed in late stage disease; they are afraid or embarass to ask questions.  Asking questions should be the easy part; dealing with poor health is costly on many levels. Asking questions does not kill, but ignorance surely does.

We at OneWorld do not provide answers to medical questions.  We serve as a conduit to reliable information through our education programs, public forums and our web site, and by making it possible for people to have access to medical and education resources (such as having the doctors in the studio).  However, the responsibility for accessing the information lies with all of you; unless you access and respond to the information no good is achieved.  Copies of our programs are available through our online store or by calling OneWorld, Inc.

The program, “21st Century Conversations” airs on many PEG access stations and also on AT&T UVerse anywhere in the state of CT. To learn how to find us on AT&T, please visit the NHTV web site at:

Prostate health is an important part of health and well-being for men and their partners. There is nothing to be embarassed about in asking questions; it is far more important to learn than it is to remain ignorant. Knowledge is truly power; we empower ourselves every time we take the iniative to learn something that better equips us to make good decisions for ourselves and our loved ones.  If we could appeal to you in any way it would be to implore you to learn all that you can about the vital organs in your body and the role they play in maintaining your health.  Please DO NOT be concerned about being over treated for prostate problems.  Responsible physicians do not over treat patients; they empower patients with good information so that they are capable of making good decisions for themselves.

In Greater NH we are fortunate to have two outstanding cancer treament facilities at Yale and at McGivney. The OneWorld web site provides a range of resource information; we encourage you to use this information and to reach out to physicians you trust to get clarifications.  Ignorance is BLIND.  Knowledge EMPOWERS.

posted by: Carl M. on November 7, 2009  4:52pm

The power of the Internet cannot be overstated.  I am really pleased that I encountered this article.  I wish we had an organization such as OneWorld Progressive Institute in our community to produce and present public access TV programs such as this 21st Century Conversations on Prostate Health.  The title of the article “Prostate Mysteries Explored” is most appropriate. The article is extremely well written and very informative.  The comments posted by other men are also most helpful; I find specific benefits from the comments made by Marvin.  For whatever reasons so many of us men believe that we have to tough it out by ourselves; to do anything else reflects poorly on our manhood.  This is MOST unfortunate because following this path leads to unnecessary suffering and mistakes. Getting good information is the best way to go in dealing with any issue.

Prostatitis is common among older men, but too many of us have no idea what it is, so the first thing we do is hide the fact that we have a problem.  For those of us who are not married it is even worse because we still feel we have something to prove maybe to more than one woman.  I want to support Marvin’s statement and encourage men, especially those of us over the age of 50, to see a urologist; get a comprehensive exam; get a PSA test and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE); there is nothing to be embarrassed about; this simple exam and blood test could save you from years of unnecessary suffering; it could improve the quality of your intimate relationships, and help you to better understand how this vital organ called the prostate gland works in your body. 

After getting the test if there is a serious problem, such as prostate cancer, find someone in addition to the doctor treating you, or ask for help in finding the best treatment physician that you can.  First, you must get as much information as possible before you make the decision about treatment.  Know all of your options first.

This type of health literacy program is of immense value.  I do hope that many people are paying attention.  OneWorld Progressive Institute, Ms. Shani and the Yale doctors are to be commended.  This on-line journal by the New Haven Independent is a valuable resource.

posted by: Curtis Wilson on November 10, 2009  9:55am

I want to thank N’Zinga Shani for presenting such a well organized and informed program on prostate disease. As a 41 year old black male, I learned alot about things I should pay more attention to concerning my health.
Prostate disease is growing rapidly and I’m so happy that “21st Century Conversations” put it out there front and center.

posted by: Miguel Caldera on November 11, 2009  12:14pm

After reading the original article and comments, I realize that many folks out there are in tremendous need of this kind of information. My personal opinion is that not enough focus has been placed on early prevention, especially in the area of nutrition. Everyone knows that the average American consumes large amounts of fat in their daily diets and in the fast pace world we live in it is more likely that this problem will get worse before it gets better. I run a large behavioral health program and information and articles like this, serve as an excellent resource to all who are healthy as well as those who are in treatment. Check out this simple and easy to read website: (what I need to know about prostate problems). Thanks to OneWorld and N’Zinga Shani for these excellent educational programs. Continue to do your good work.

posted by: Carole Gardner N.D. on November 14, 2009  10:57pm

It is important to remember that psychological and emotional stress can be a debilitating factor in a diagnosis of any kind of cancer including prostate. Adaptogens are botanicals that help the body manage stress and bring the body back into balance. Internal cleansing is important. Putrification in the colon causes toxicity in the blood and tissues. Research the different ways of cleansing the colon and decide which one will work best for you. Nutrition is very important especially for those who opt to do chemotherapy and/or radiation. Fortify the body for the onslaught of foreign matter which the body does not recognize as beneficial. Take a liquid multivitamin/mineral supplement. It is important to maintain normal ph as acidity can cause inflamed tissues. Green vegetable juices can help this process. Eat a balanced diet, with less meats,organic fruits and vegetables, alkaline water, no carbonated drinks or alcohol. Excercise by walking or swimming, no bike riding. Optimal health means healthy sex organs. Try not to suppress sexual ejaculation, have regular coopulaton with your mate. More than anything talk about any sexual inhibitions, get a professional to help if this is difficult for you. Make an effort to remember the good things in life. Write your feeling in a journal. Embrace your support system, you don’t have to talk to everyone, but choose the folks you want to confide in and share with. Try to be active phyically and mentally and do things to take your mind off yourself, like reaching out to other individuals or groups.