What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is found only in men and is situated just underneath the bladder in the pelvis. Urine flows through the prostate from the bladder on it’s way out the penis. The prostate also plays a role in male reproduction.

Prostate Cancer is the most common solid organ cancer in men and is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. It is estimated that over 180,000 American men with be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016 and over 26,000 will die because of prostate cancer (American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2016. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2016).

Screening

Prostate cancer does not cause symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Prostate cancer screening programs help to find cancer before it reaches an advanced stage utilizing the PSA test and a physical exam. PSA stands for prostate specific antigen and can be tested through a simple blood test.

Read more about Prostate Cancer Screening.

Diagnosis

Prostate cancer can only be diagnosed with a biopsy. This has traditionally been done with the use of ultrasound to guide the biopsy. Unfortunately, ultrasound is not very good at distinguishing benign prostate tissue from cancerous tissue. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is far superior to ultrasound in identifying concerning areas in the prostate. Advanced technology allows the use of MRI-Ultrasound fusion technology to direct prostate biopsies at concerning lesions. This results in improved diagnostic capabilities. Regional Urology offers the only available MRI-Ultrasound fusion in the area.

Treatment

There are many options available for the treatment of prostate cancer and you should discuss the risks and benefits of all these with your Urologist:

Surgery will remove the entire prostate through a procedure called a prostatectomy. Surgery alone will often cure prostate cancer.

Side effects of radical prostatectomy include stress urinary incontinence (SUI, involuntary leakage of urine) and erectile dysfunction (inability to get and/or maintain an erection, also known as impotence). These risks are very individualized to each patient and can be successfully treated.

Regional Urology specializes in minimally invasive robotic surgery for the prostate. To learn more about robotic surgery, click here. There are many potential benefits to robotic surgery including decreased pain and blood loss as well as a shorter hospital stay. For a robotic prostatectomy, stress urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction may be decreased due to the benefits of robotic surgery.

Robotic Prostatectomy, click here to learn more.

Radiation utilizes ionizing energy to destroy cancer cells. Radiation alone will also often cure prostate cancer. There are many forms of radiation to consider including standard external beam radiation and brachytherapy. To learn more about the radiation center at Regional Urology click here.

Proton therapy, while initially promising, does not result in decreased side effects or improved outcomes. The American Society for Radiation Oncology recommends against routine use of proton therapy outside of experimental studies in the treatment of prostate cancer given a lack of clinical evidence. (Source)

Radiation for Prostate Cancer, click here to learn more.

Active surveillance, instead of definitive treatment, is an option for patients with low-risk cancer. Patients on this plan with have routine PSA tests and repeat biopsies to ensure the cancer does not progress to a more aggressive form. If it does, definitive treatment is initiated.

Download Life After Prostate Cancer Book

Additional Resources:

The Urology Care Foundation and the National Football League have teamed up to promote prostate cancer awareness and to promote the FACTS about prostate cancer screening through a program called Know Your Stats.

Get the facts about prostate cancer screening: http://www.urologyhealth.org/knowyourstats

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