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Prostate Cancer Treatment at USA Health

Prostate Cancer

The USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute offers specialized treatment for prostate cancer, the most common type of non-skin cancer among men.

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About Prostate Cancer Treatment at USA Health

As part of the region’s only academic health system, we provide the latest in diagnosis and treatment as well as clinical trials specific to prostate cancer. We are here to develop and guide you through an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan.

Can I get a second opinion at the Mitchell Cancer Institute?

If you have received a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment and would like another opinion, we can help you make a more informed decision. Asking for a second opinion doesn’t mean you are abandoning your doctor. Being well-informed is an important part of your cancer journey.

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Understanding Prostate Cancer

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, a small gland located near the bladder. Is the most common type of non-skin cancer among men. It’s etimated that 1 in 9 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that prostate cancer is 100 percent treatable if detected early.

What are the types of prostate cancer?

Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers develop from the gland cells (the cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen). Other types of cancer that can start in the prostate include:

  • Small cell carcinomas
  • Neuroendocrine tumors (other than small cell carcinomas)
  • Transitional cell carcinomas
  • Sarcomas

These other types of prostate cancer are rare. If you are told you have prostate cancer, it is almost certain to be an adenocarcinoma. Some prostate cancers grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly. In fact, autopsy studies show that many older men (and even some younger men) who died of other causes also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. In many cases, neither they nor their doctors even knew they had it.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

How should I be screened for prostate cancer?

Talk with your primary care physician or urologist and get a personalized assessment of when you should start screening. Depending on family history, race and other risk factors, starting as early as age 40 may be the right choice. Black men are at highest risk for prostate cancer in the U.S. They also are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.

The most common screening involves a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer, though levels also may be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

If your PSA test is abnormal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. Your primary care doctor or urologist may recommend a biopsy to find out if you have prostate cancer. During a biopsy procedure, usually performed by a urologist, a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and examined under a microscope to see whether cancer cells are present.

If prostate cancer is diagnosed, the pathologist will grade the biopsied cancer cells, providing a measure of how quickly the cells are likely to grow and spread. Other tests are performed to find out if cancer cells have spread within the prostate or to other parts of the body. This process, called staging, tells doctors what kind of treatment you will need.

Treating Prostate Cancer

Treatment options for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer doesn’t always require surgery or even treatment. For those with low-risk cancers, there’s a chance the cancer will grow so slowly that they won’t need treatment in their lifetimes. Instead of treatment your doctor may recommend active surveillance: regular PSA tests and biopsies to make sure it doesn’t get more aggressive.

If treatment is needed, your urologist may set up a consultation with a radiation oncologist – a cancer doctor who uses radiation to treat tumors – to see if you are a candidate for radiation therapy. You also may need a bone scan to inform this decision. After these tests are completed, you will meet with your urologist to review the findings and make a decision about your individual treatment.

Post-treatment outlook

About 85 percent of all prostate cancers are detected in the local or regional stages. Many men diagnosed and treated at these stages will be disease-free after five years.

However, prostate cancer comes in many forms, and some men can have aggressive prostate cancer even when it appears to be confined to the prostate. The earlier the cancer is detected and treated, the more likely the patient will remain disease-free.

What treatments are available?

Surgery

A prostatectomy is an operation in which doctors remove the prostate. Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate as well as the surrounding tissue.

Radiation therapy

This treatment uses high-energy rays to kill the cancer. Options include external radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy, in which seeds or pellets are surgically implanted.

Cryotherapy

This therapy involves placing a special probe inside or near the prostate cancer to freeze and kill the cancer cells.

Hormone therapy

This blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.

Chemotherapy

This therapy uses special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. These drugs can be in the form of pills you take or medicines delivered intraveneously.

Immunotherapy

This therapy works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer or to control side effects from other treatments.

Targeted drug therapy

These treatments work to block specific abnormalities within the cancer cells and cause the cells to die. Some of these therapies only work in people whose cancer cells have certain genetic mutations.

Our Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Team

USA Health offers numerous specialists who can diagnose and treat lung cancer. Learn more about our providers or request an appointment today.

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