Collection Development: Prostate Health & Wellness

Some 240,000 patients are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States each year, yet, there are very few evidenced-based titles on prostate health published annually. Here are 27 resources to help.

Many men do not seek medical advice or treatment unless it’s clearly essential. As part of this mind-set, they tend to ignore their (admittedly well-hidden) prostate glands unless there are problems. Some men (as well as trans women and anyone with a prostate) suffer from prostate infection, inflammation, or enlargement, often as benign prostatic hyper­plasia (BPH), which can cause pain or difficult urination. They may become interested in prostate health while getting treatment and turn to websites or books for more information.

Prostate cancer has become the most common male cancer, with some 240,000 people diagnosed in the United States and 24,000 in Canada in 2013, killing roughly ten percent of patients in those countries. Strides made in detection, monitoring, and treatment mean that most of those affected are cured or able to live with the disease as a chronic condition. Medical research is advancing toward a goal of targeted destruction of cancer cells when they are discovered within the body. What’s needed now is a test to identify found prostate cancers as either aggressive or “indolent.”

In the meantime, effective mainstream treatments such as surgery, radiation, and hormone-blocking therapies can have significant side effects. Patients require information and support to remain as functional as possible during and after treatment, and libraries should keep current. However, there are very few evidence-based books for patients published annually.


Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will seek opinions beyond the urologist’s office. At that point, they need to have the cancer monitored or choose a treatment. Partners or close family members will likely get involved in those decisions. Some progressive hospitals or medical centers offer information seminars and counseling. Some pro­active patients will join live or online prostate cancer support groups and could benefit from the information supplied by knowledgeable attendees.

Several books, such as Richard J. Ablin and Ronald ­Piana’s The Great Prostate Hoax, have covered overtreatment, which is a valid concern. Not all prostate cancers are aggressive, and some therapies can cause permanent side effects. Monitoring, with or without a treatment option, now has a place in prostate cancer care, particularly for older men with slow-growing disease. Posttreatment is likely to present another personal research phase, as patients deal with side effects and try to live a healthier lifestyle to decrease the risk of further illness.

Should prostate cancer recur or progress, patients will be offered additional protocols and again need to make informed choices. There may be attention paid to chemotherapy and medications that combat metastatic cancer. Sadly, end-of-life care will become an issue for some.

Libraries can provide critical resources throughout the prostate cancer experience. Here are some recommendations for evidence-based books and websites. Personal testimonials are excluded, as those authors’ experiences may not be applicable to the majority of readers. Two titles are also listed in Scott Vieira’s collection development feature “Staying Healthy: Men’s Edition” (LJ 2/1/15).

Some of the best and most current information about prostate cancer is online, so libraries should make a selection of websites available for their patrons.

Starred titles (redstar) are essential acquisitions for most ­collections.

David R. Conn had a 30-year career as a special librarian and public librarian, including as collections manager of Surrey Libraries, BC. Now a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver, BC, he has reviewed books and media for LJ since 1998

Prostate Health

Beliveau, Richard & Denis Gingras. Foods To Fight Cancer: What To Eat To Reduce Your Risk. DK. May 2017. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9781465456281. pap. $22.95.

This well-illustrated guide explores proven cancer-fighting foods and those to avoid, with many references to prostate cancer. The recommended fare isn’t necessarily exotic: tomato sauce gets a shout-out. The authors are both professors of biochemistry.

redstarCarter, H. Ballentine & Gerald Secor Couzens. The Whole Life Prostate Book: Everything That Every Man—at Every Age—Needs To Know About Maintaining Optimal Prostate Health. Free Pr. 2012. 467p. illus. index. ISBN 9781451621211. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9781451621228. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781451621235.

This is a rare book that genuinely deals with prostate health as well as disease. Carter (urology/oncology, Johns ­Hopkins Sch. of Medicine) and health writer Couzens have produced a complete guide. (LJ 6/1/12)

Cooking Well: Prostate Health; Over 100 Easy & Delicious Recipes for Prostate Wellness. Hatherleigh. 2011. 144p. ed. by Marie-Annick Courtier. ISBN 9781578263769. pap. $12.50.

Chef Courtier suggests a low-fat, low-sugar diet to reduce the chances of prostate trouble. She provides some general advice on eating and activity, then offers recipes for healthy Mediterranean-style breakfasts, soups, salads, entrées, side dishes, snacks, and desserts.

Taguchi, Yosh. The Prostate: Everything You Need To Know About the Man Gland. Linda Leith. 2014. 230p. ISBN 9781927535356. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781927535363.

Taguchi (urology, McGill Univ.), drawing on his 50 years of clinical experience, muses elegantly on prostate health and illness. While covering an expansive range of issues and patient cases, he has more to say than most urologists about treating prostatitis and enlarged prostate.


American Cancer Society 

This major nonprofit provides brief information about causes, risks, prevention, detection, diagnosis, staging, treatment, and side effects. Also on the site are live chat and a cancer help line.

His Prostate Cancer 

This website was created by medical writer Dana Kababik, who is married to a prostate cancer survivor. It offers useful information for spouses or partners and covers such topics as treatments, common side effects, and intimacy. Discreet advertising supports the site.

James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute

The institute, part of Johns Hopkins University, commissions research into bladder, kidney, and prostate disease. The website offers information, Q&A sessions, and videos.

Life on ADT 

This website was set up by the authors of Androgen Deprivation Therapy: an Essential Guide for Patients and Their Loved Ones (see above). It includes video presentations about their research on the lives of men taking ADT.

Medline Plus

The National Library of Medicine hosts this comprehensive health database, updated daily. It may be topic or keyword searched for fact sheets, journal articles, tutorials, and videos. Many items are available in Spanish. Includes links to current clinical trials.

National Cancer Institute

The NCI is the federal government’s main agency for cancer research and training. Its website has a section about prostate cancer. Topics cover screening, causes and prevention, treatment, research, and ­statistics.

redstarThe New Prostate Cancer Infolink

This comprehensive nonprofit website includes news items, blogs, informative articles, video lectures, and a mentoring service. It provides links to many discussion groups and other websites.

Prostate Cancer Canada

Prostate Cancer Canada is a nonprofit that sponsors prostate cancer research and support, including a network of support groups across the country. Considerable information is posted here, including medical webinars. The website also hosts a national telephone help line.

Prostate Cancer Foundation

This foundation uses creative campaigns to sponsor innovative research, for example, partnering with Major League Baseball to help raise funds. The website offers basic information, FAQs, news, and videos.

Prostate Cancer Research Institute

This nonprofit educates patients and the public with a help line, resource center, blog, and newsletter.

Prostate Knowledge

The Harvard Medical School provides information about prostate disease, along with patient perspectives. One section discusses the increased risk of developing prostate cancer and increased death rate among African American men.

redstarUs Too International 

Us Too bills itself as the world’s largest nonprofit prostate cancer education and support network. The site serves as a resource for assistance and educational materials. It advocates for patients and survivors, including hosting discussion groups.

Zero: The End of Prostate Cancer 

This nonprofit supports prostate cancer research and offers information, including fact sheets, webinars, and videos, plus a telephone help line. The website features information for high-risk groups.

Cancer & Treatments

Ablin, Richard J. with Ronald Piana. The Great Prostate Hoax: How Big Medicine Hijacked the PSA Test and Caused a Public Health Disaster. St. Martin’s. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781137278746. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781137431318.

Ablin (pathology, Univ. of Arizona) is the claimed discoverer of the prostate specific antigen (PSA). Collaborating with science writer Piana, he strongly objects to its widespread application to screen for prostate cancer. He believes many men have suffered from unnecessary treatments and side effects. (LJ 2/15/14)

Centeno, Arthur. Prostate Cancer: A Man’s Guide to Treatment. 2d ed. Addicus. 2014. 170p. ISBN 9781940495408. pap. $19.95.

This short, straightforward title from urologist Centeno covers diagnosis and the major treatments available. The book also includes some information about dealing with side effects.

Chodak, Gerald. Winning the Battle Against Prostate Cancer: Get the Treatment That Is Right for You. 2d ed. Springer. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9781936303540. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617051852.

This detailed guide to conventional treatments for prostate cancer also offers advice on how to make treatment choices, including those relating to chemotherapy. It’s a lot of medical information, well presented. It also features a chapter on complementary and alternative medicine. Chodak is a urologist and educator.

redstarGoldenberg, S. Larry & others. The Intelligent Patient Guide to Prostate Cancer. 4th ed. Intelligent Patient Guide. 2014. 297p. ISBN 9780981159928. pap. $34.95.

This comprehensive illustrated Canadian work is cowritten by Goldenberg, a urologist, with a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist and intended as a personal resource for prostate cancer patients. Most of the content is about mainstream treatments, but there are chapters on healthy living, unconventional therapies, complementary treatments, and alternative options.

redstarWassersug, Richard & others. Androgen Deprivation Therapy: An Essential Guide for Prostate Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones. Demos Health. 2014. 184p. ISBN 9781936303663. pap. $19.95; ebk ISBN 9781617052200.

This is an interactive manual for prostate cancer patients who plan to take androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), also known as hormone therapy. Wassersug, a research scientist at the University of British Columbia, and psychologist coauthors ­Lauren M. Walker and John W. ­Robinson guide the reader through the ADT process and its side effects, with many suggestions to help patients and loved ones adjust to physical and emotional changes.

Cancer Management/Support

Alterowitz, Ralph & Barbara Alterowitz. Intimacy with Impotence: The Couple’s Guide to Better Sex After Prostate Disease. Da Capo. 2004. 240p. ISBN 9780738207896. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780786730032.

The Alterowitzes’ book was written to help committed partners resume intimacy in spite of erectile dysfunction or incontinence. The authors emphasize that partners must be flexible in terms of technique and expectations. The work includes a comprehensive appendix of medications and devices that may aid erections. (LJ 7/04)

redstarKatz, Anne. Prostate Cancer and the Man You Love: Supporting and Caring for Your Partner. Rowman & Littlefield. 2012. 232p. ISBN 9781442214521. $44; pap. ISBN 9781442214538. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781442214545.

Prostate cancer has been described as a “couple’s disease,” but the literature often leaves patients’ partners in the background. This clear and helpful guide covers the prostate cancer process but is addressed specifically to patients’ spouses or partners. Katz (nursing, Univ. of Manitoba) is a clinical nurse specialist and sexuality counselor.

Melman, Arnold & Rosemary E. Newnham. After Prostate Cancer: A What-Comes-Next Guide to a Safe and Informed Recovery. Oxford Univ. 2011. 256p. illus. ISBN 9780195399660. pap. $20.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199753024.

Melman (urology, Albert Einstein Coll., Montefiore Medical Ctr.) and medical writer Newnham describe common cancer treatments and side effects and suggest methods for coping. They go into more detail than most books on this subject and include quality illustrations.

redstarRoth, Andrew J. Managing Prostate Cancer: A Guide for Living Better. Oxford Univ. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780199336920. pap. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199336944.

Roth, a psychiatrist who works with a cancer center, focuses on the psychological impact of a prostate cancer diagnosis, treatments, and side effects, as well as simply living with the disease. This aspect of the cancer experience is seldom dealt with in such detail. Throughout, he advises readers about how to understand and deal with their feelings. (LJ 11/15/15)

Smith, William. Exercises for Cancer Wellness: Restoring Energy and Vitality While Fighting Fatigue. Hatherleigh. 2015. 112p. illus. ISBN 9781578265718. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781578265725.

Fitness author Smith presents illustrated directions for workouts that emphasize resistance, flexibility, and cardiovascular activity. An appropriate exercise program can benefit patients physically and emotionally, while regular activity is thought to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence or relapse.

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