From diagnosis to treatment, our team of prostate cancer specialists utilizes the latest technology and treatment protocols with a continued goal of positive outcomes and quality of life.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a common form of cancer affecting men. It typically grows slowly, though certain other types of prostate cancer might grow rapidly. Usually confined to the prostate gland, it typically develops in the cells that create and release mucus, among other bodily fluids. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer develops as a result of changes to the genetic material within prostate cells. These changes result in the pattern of cell growth and division characteristic of prostate cancer. Although the increased likelihood of developing prostate cancer is associated with the following factors, in most cases, physicians and scientists are still trying to determine what causes prostate cancer to develop:
- Chronic inflammation of the prostate
- Exposure to certain chemicals, such as Agent Orange
- Family history of cancer syndromes
- Family history of certain cancers
- Genetic mutations
- High levels of testosterone
- Overconsumption of saturated fats
- Personal history of certain cancers
- Testosterone supplementation
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Signs/Symptoms- An abnormal finding on a routine screening exam. Or you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
a frequent urge or inability to urinate, or waking more frequently during the night to urinate
trouble starting or holding back urine flow
frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Blood in semen
Decreased size and strength of the urine stream
Pelvic area discomfort
How Is Prostate Cancer Detected?
Our specialists collect information regarding medical history, surgical history, social history, and family history; conduct laboratory testing, and review radiological studies to approach patient care in the most comprehensive and personalized manner. Early detection of prostate cancer may be possible by way of laboratory testing for the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. Methods for early detection of prostate cancer also include the digital rectal exam, in which a healthcare practitioner employs rectal insertion of a finger (also known as a “digit”) to see if the prostate has grown to a size larger than normal.
If prostate cancer is suspected, a doctor will likely order either urine cytology, a cystoscopy, or an imaging study to help arrive at a diagnosis. Urine cytology is a test doctors use to see if there are any tumor cells in a urine sample. A cystoscopy allows doctors to see inside the body with the help of a flexible tube known as a cystoscope. Imaging studies might include a CT scan, a digital rectal exam, PET scan, PET-CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI. A CT (computed tomography) scan uses X-rays to generate a three-dimensional picture of the body whereas a PET (positron emission tomography) scan uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to locate any cancer cells by how readily they take up the radiotracer. A PET-CT combines the features of a CT scan with those of a PET scan. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields to generate a detailed representation of the body. Lastly, an ultrasound sends sound waves through the body to generate images of the body’s organs and tissues.
If upon review of your results your doctor notices a mass suspicious for prostate cancer, he or she will likely order a biopsy in order to make a diagnosis and plan treatment, if necessary.
Stages of Prostate Cancer
“Staging” occurs when a physician uses to test and scan results to determine which parts of the body are involved by cancer, in this case, prostate cancer. Staging is important because different stages of prostate cancer are better addressed with treatments that may differ in amount, combination, or type. According to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), the stages for prostate cancer are as follows:
The cancer is small enough that it cannot be felt on palpation, involves only less than or equal to one half of one side of the prostate, and does not involve any areas of the body beyond the prostate. This stage is also characterized by low levels of PSA.
Cancer has grown beyond Stage I size classification but remains confined to the prostate. This growth may or may not be associated with a noticeable increase in PSA levels.
Cancer in this stage is described as “locally advanced,” which means cancer has spread, locally, beyond the prostate to invade nearby organs, such as the bladder.
The tumor has spread beyond the prostate into regional, distant lymph nodes, and/or other regions of the body far from the prostate.
How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?
Treatment of prostate cancer, depending on the stage and type, may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery. These treatments may be used individually or in combination based on your doctor’s recommendations. It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to help make the decision that best fits your needs. Some important factors to consider when deciding on a prostate cancer treatment plan include
- Your age, health, and lifestyle.
- The stage of your cancer.
- Any other serious health conditions you have.
- Your feelings about the need to treat cancer right away.
- Your doctor’s opinion about if you need to treat cancer right away.
- The likelihood that treatment will help fight or cure your cancer.
- Possible side effects of each treatment method.
You may feel the need to make a quick decision, but it is very important to ask questions if there is anything about which you’re not entirely sure. It is very important for you and your doctor to communicate and work together to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible adverse effects in order to ultimately determine which treatment option is best for you.