prostate cancer -

January 27, 2010 14:22 ET

Robotic Prostatectomy Expert Dr. David B. Samadi, MD Joins Celebrities Advocating PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 27, 2010) - Celebrities are helping to drive the point home for early prostate cancer screening in order to increase chances of survival. Now, with theater big Andrew Lloyd Webber's victory and Dennis Hopper's losing battle with the disease, the spotlight turns to increasing awareness and becoming more proactive with this largely preventable disease. This is helping Dr. David Samadi's mission significantly since he has long been a vocal proponent of regular Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) checkups. Samadi, the Chief of the Division of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery in the Department of Urology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, urges all men to learn from the experiences of these celebrities.

"In the case of Webber, his prostate cancer was diagnosed at an early stage, at which point he opted for a radical prostatectomy," said Dr. Samadi, who has successfully treated over 2,100 cases in his robotic surgery practice. After some minor complications and infection, Webber successfully beat the disease. Sadly, actor Dennis Hopper, age 73, is currently in the final stages of the disease. Hopper, who has been in treatments since 2002, began aggressively battling the cancer since October of 2009. Unfortunately, the disease is terminal, having spread to his skeletal system and other parts of his body.

Although no specific details have been released in Hopper's case, his cancer could likely have been an aggressive, mutated form of the disease. In certain cases, the PSA levels may not be elevated, despite a presence of prostate cancer. The cancer cells have more genetic mutations than other prostate cancer cells do, and therefore do not produce enough PSA to be properly detected. As a result, this type of prostate cancer is more aggressive and doesn't respond well to treatment. These mutations could cause cancers to grow and spread more quickly.

Recently, researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina found a genetic mutation that can help predict which men will have an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and can help doctors properly prescribe treatment. According to a study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, subjects with the genetic change were at a 26 percent higher risk of having aggressive prostate cancer. This discovery holds some promise for the future but comes too late for some sufferers, like Hopper.

Andrew Lloyd Webber now urges men to seek medical help immediately if they notice "anything unusual, however embarrassing," further advising that men over 50 get regular PSA screenings. Dr. Samadi whole-heartedly agrees, and adds that African Americans, or other men with risk factors, like family history, should begin screenings at age 40. Prostate cancer, also known as the "silent killer," exhibits no symptoms, unlike other cancers.

"With regular screenings and monitoring the fluctuation of results, a diagnosis of prostate cancer is not necessarily a death sentence," says Samadi. "If caught early enough, the prostate cancer treatment and cure rate can be over 95 percent."

Contact Information