Prostate Cancer

As a man ages, his prostate may change. Inside a changing prostate, groups of cells may form tumors or other growths. Some may be benign (not cancerous), but they may still cause symptoms. Others may be cancerous. Having an enlarged prostate does not mean you have prostate Cancer. It is recommended for most men over 50 to have a screening prostate exam yearly to detect early prostate cancer which is the second most common form of cancer in men. Prostate cancer causes no symptoms in the early stages when treatment is most effective. If your father or brother had prostate cancer or you are African American, you may be at a higher risk and screening is recommended to start at the age 40. Also, it appears that a high fat diet increases your risk of prostate cancer.

Diagnosis

Prostate cancer may not cause symptoms at first. Urinary problems often are not a sign of cancer, but of another condition. To find out if you have prostate cancer, your doctor must examine you and order tests. Tests help confirm a diagnosis of cancer. They also help give more information about a cancerous tumor. Tests include:

  1. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) - is a chemical made by prostate tissue to evaluate a man’s risk for prostate cancer. In general, a high or rising PSA level may mean an increased cancer risk. PSA testing is also used to evaluate the success of cancer treatments. Certain conditions could elevate your PSA and only qualified individuals like your doctor could determine the meaning of an abnormal PSA.
  2. Core Needle Biopsy - This test involves taking tissue samples from the prostate to provide more information about cancer cells. During the test, a small probe is inserted into the rectum as you lie on your side. This lets an image of your prostate be seen on a video monitor. With this image as a guide, the doctor uses a thin needle to remove tiny tissue samples from the prostate. Medications are given so you don’t feel pain during the test. This is the most sensitive and definitive test to tell you if you have Prostate Cancer.

Treatment

Being told that you have cancer is frightening. But most men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t die from it. Even though a cure can’t be guaranteed, treatment can often keep the cancer under control. The treatment your healthcare team will suggest depends on many factors. These include your age, your overall health, how fast the cancer is growing, and whether it has spread. Discuss your options with your healthcare team consisting of your urologist, radiation oncologist, and other medical staff involved in treating your medical condition

Choosing the Best Treatment

Knowing the cancer’s grade and stage helps with forming a treatment plan. Discuss your treatment options with your healthcare team to find what is best for you.

  • Watchful waiting. Depending on the cancer’s grade and stage, your age, and your overall health, you may not need treatment. Your healthcare team will monitor your health and PSA, decide when you’ll need follow-up exams, and schedule treatment at a later date if needed.
  • Treating to cure. If cancer is detected at an early stage, chances for recovery are good. Low- or mid-stage cancer can often be cured by removing it surgically or destroying it inside your body using radiation or cryoablation (freeze treatment).
  • Treating to control. High-grade or high-stage cancer often can’t be cured, but may be controlled using surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy.

Surgical Procedure:

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy

For qualified candidates, robotically assisted prostate surgery offers numerous potential benefits over the traditional open prostatectomy, including shorter hospital stay, less pain, less risk of infection, less blood loss and transfusions, less scarring, faster recovery, and quicker return to normal activities.

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Additional Resources from National Institute of Cancer