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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Website Helps Men Evaluate Risk of Prostate Cancer

Edited (with Introduction) by Dr. Don Rose


This article discusses prostate cancer, some state-of-the-art treatment options, and a website that features a risk test for this type of cancer. The free test promotes prostate cancer screenings and early detection, which maximizes a man’s chance for survival and helps reduce the chances that drastic treatment will be needed. Hence, this test is something that men over 50, especially senior citizens, should look into. –D.R.



In 2006, more than 234,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 27,000 men will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. While it is estimated that 1 man in 6 will suffer from prostate cancer in his lifetime, only 1 man in 34 will die from it. The earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is for patients to survive and remain disease-free.

Online prostate cancer risk test

A new website published by Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers in the Southwest Chicago area ( encourages men to learn more about prostate cancer, and to take a free confidential online test to evaluate their prostate cancer risk. The website’s test evaluates a man’s risk based on certain genetic and lifestyle factors that scientists believe affect one’s prostate cancer risk.

Knowledge and survival

Knowing one’s risk can significantly increase a man’s chance for surviving prostate cancer. According to Dr. Paul Y. Song, a prostate cancer specialist at Little Company of Mary, “Knowing your risk and early detection provide the best tools to fight prostate cancer. If the disease is diagnosed early, a patient has an excellent prognosis, many treatment options, and typically suffers from fewer side effects.” When the disease is still confined to the prostate, the five-year relative survival rate is nearly 100 percent.

Treatment options

“Men whose cancer is diagnosed early may be candidates for any of the accepted prostate cancer treatments,” Dr. Song said. Some of the treatment options include radiation therapy and surgery. The doctor notes that “during the last 20 years, major clinical evidence has shown that both surgery and radiation therapy offer an equal chance for cure in the treatment of prostate cancer.”

Little Company of Mary Hospital is the only hospital in the entire greater Chicago area to offer both High Dose Rate brachytherapy for prostate cancer treatment and the da Vinci robotic prostatectomy.

High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy provides the most precise delivery of radiation possible in the treatment of prostate cancer. Unlike permanent seed implants, patients have temporary placement of radioactive catheters which can be custom tailored to deliver precision internal radiation and better avoid the urethra, rectum, and nerves to reduce overall toxicity without being radioactive and exposing family members to radiation. It is a one-day procedure where patients can go back to work the next day. According to Dr. Song, “HDR brachytherapy takes the prostate implant procedure to a whole new level, and is more precise and less toxic than conventional seed implants.”

The da Vinci robotic surgical system is a state-of-the-art minimally-invasive technology which allows surgeons to perform complex surgeries through tiny openings. Patients who undergo daVinci prostatectomies typically enjoy fewer overall side effects, shorter hospital stays, and earlier resumption of normal activities.


At its earliest stages, prostate cancer does not present with any symptoms. Therefore, knowing one’s risk and early detection for prostate cancer are a man’s best defenses. “Once cancer cells are found outside the prostate, a man has much fewer treatment options and less potential for cure,” Dr. Song explained. Little Company of Mary’s online prostate cancer risk test at “is a great tool to become more knowledgeable about prostate cancer.”


For more information, see the above website, or contact Kelly Cusack at 708.229.5049.

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Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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