Heart health isn't the only reason to pay attention to cholesterol levels: Research has shown that cholesterol plays an important role in prostate health as well. September has been designated both National Prostate Health Month and National Cholesterol Education Month, and the American Urological Association (AUA) and the AUA Foundation are urging men to decrease their risk of developing prostate cancer by managing their cholesterol.

Two separate studies from researchers in North Carolina point out an association between cholesterol levels and prostate health risks. In 2007, a retrospective study by the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina showed that 1,214 men taking statins to lower their cholesterol also experienced a proportional decline in their levels of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA. As the prostate grows, it secretes an increased amount of PSA into the bloodstream. This new study highlights the fact that cholesterol levels could be associated in some way with prostate cancer development and progression.

Poor cholesterol management may not only affect a man's risk for prostate cancer, but also his risk of biomedical recurrence after prostatectomy, according to new data from Duke University released earlier this year. Researchers identified 471 patients from the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) database who underwent radical prostatectomy between 1998 and 2007 and found that those with a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and those with increased serum cholesterol were up to 2.5 times more likely to experience a biochemical relapse.

While the association between high cholesterol and prostate health has been established by these data, the actual causation, researchers point out, is still unknown. However, these studies magnify the fact that being "heart healthy" can help men improve the health of their prostates. There is no better time than now. To find a urologist or a free or low-cost prostate cancer screening near you, please visit UrologyHealth.

During this important month and throughout the year, the AUA can provide information, statistics and expert commentary on subjects related to prostate health. The AUA can assist in developing related story topics on prostate health, such as:

-- New risk factors for prostate cancer

-- Robot-assisted prostatectomy - the latest technology

-- New techniques and technology to treat prostate cancer

-- When should men have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to screen for prostate cancer?

-- What is active surveillance and when is it appropriate?

-- Treatment options for prostate cancer and what patients should know about each

-- What is BPH/enlarged prostate? How is it treated?

-- What is prostatitis? How is it treated?

-- Christopher Amling, MD, Professor and Director, Division of Urology, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

-- J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, FACS, Professor and William L. Valk Chair, Department of Urology and the Co-Director of Operative Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS.

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients, including UrologyHealth, an award-winning on-line patient education resource, and the American Urological Association Foundation, Inc.

American Urological Association (AUA)
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Linthicum, MD 21040
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