The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that islocated below the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounding the urethra. It releases prostatic fluid, which contributes to the formation of semen. Prostate cancer forms in tissues of the prostate.
Exact causes of prostate cancer are not known, though men older than 65 and/or with an immediate-family history of prostate cancer are at greater risk. Prostate cancer is also more prevalent among African America men, but less common in Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native men.
Prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms unless it has spread outside the prostate. Patients with prostate cancer may have:
- Difficulty starting or stopping urine flow
- Increased urinary frequency, particularly at night
- Weak urine flow
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
A urologist will perform a detailed history and physical exam, to include a variety of tests:
- Digital rectal exam: The doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels your prostate through the rectal wall.
- Blood test: A test to check for the level of prostate-specific antigens in your blood.
If test results are abnormal, the urologist may advise:
- Transrectal ultrasound: A probe is inserted into the rectum to check the prostate for abnormal areas.
- Transrectal biopsy: A biopsy needle is passed through the rectum to obtain tissue to test for cancer cells.
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Stages of Prostate Cancer:
- Stage I: The cancer is limited to the prostate.
- Stage II: The tumor is more advanced but does not extend beyond the prostate.
- Stage III: The tumor has invaded locally into the seminal vesicles (a gland behind the prostate that helps produce semen) or bladder.
- Stage IV:The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes, bones or other parts of the body.
Our prostate cancer treatment approach depends on each patient's situation. Local growth (stages I and II):
Surgery – removal of the prostate through various procedures:
- Robotic surgery: Using the da Vinci Surgery method, a surgeon can use robotics to perform minimally invasive surgery. This is now the most common surgical treatment for prostate cancer.
- Open surgery: Removal of the prostate through a cut in the abdomen or through an incision between the prostate and the anus.
- CyberKnife® SBRT: Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivers high doses of radiation in a small number of treatment sessions. CyberKnife SBRT can be completed in five outpatient treatment sessions that can take place on consecutive days or over a two-week period. Click here to learn more.
- External, or image-guided: Using two- and three-dimensional imaging to direct radiation, often referred to as IMRT or IGRT.
- Radioactive seed implementation: Inserting seeds that contain radioactive material directly into the prostate.
- Active surveillance: The patient gets regular urological exams, including a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, at least every six months and a repeat prostate biopsy after a year.
Metastatic growth (stages III and IV):
- Hormone therapy: Prostate cancer is very dependent on testosterone to grow. By giving medicine that blocks the production of testosterone, the prostate cancer often shrinks and its growth is slowed.
- Immunotherapy: New, promising treatments are available in which a patient's own white blood cells can be "taught" to attack their cancer.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment is advised for cancer that has spread and no longer responds to hormone therapy. Many advanced chemotherapy agents are now available for advanced prostate cancer.
Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinic
For men who show indications of the disease having progressed, the Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinic provides additional alternatives and support. Visit page.
For more information on Prostate Cancer, download this comprehensive guide published from The Urology Group. Click to DOWNLOAD.
Or, visit the National Cancer Institute's Prostate Cancer page.