About Prostate Cancer

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy (other than skin cancer) diagnosed in American men.

It has the potential to grow and spread quickly, but for most men it is a relatively slow growing disease.

It is important for patients to discuss with their doctors the various aspects of their particular type of prostate cancer to understand how aggressive it is and how best to treat it.

Download Dr. Hsi's prostate cancer guide

What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer will not always present symptoms. For men that do experience symptoms, these could include:

  • Urinary problems – difficulty urinating, frequent urination, pain or burning urination
  • Blood – in urine or semen
  • Pain – hips, pelvis, spine or upper legs
  • Pain or discomfort – during urination or ejaculation

How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

Currently, the best way to diagnose prostate cancer is through screening, which is done as part of a routine annual examination by your primary care doctor.

The main screening tools for prostate cancer detection are the digital rectal exam and the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test.

If either or both of these tests are abnormal, other tests may be ordered

What are Prostate Cancer Treatment Options?

The treatment of prostate cancer depends upon:

  • the type of cancer
  • whether or not the cancer has spread (metastasized)
  • patient’s age
  • patient's general health status
  • prior prostate treatments

There are three standard therapies for men with organ-confined prostate cancer:

Active Surveillance

Active surveillance may be recommended only if a cancer is not causing any symptoms and is expected to grow very slowly.

This approach is suited for men who are older or have other serious health problems. Because some prostate cancers spread very slowly, they may never require treatment.

Other men choose active surveillance because they feel the side effects of treatment outweigh the benefits.

The prostate cancer is regularly and carefully monitored with PSA testing, clinical evaluation and prostate biopsies to ensure that the cancer is not becoming more aggressive.

Surgery (radical prostatectomy)

Surgical treatment for prostate cancer involves removing the entire prostate as well as the seminal vesicles, a procedure called radical prostatectomy.

If the cancer is confined within the tissues removed at surgery, the surgical procedure alone can successfully cure localized prostate cancer.

After surgery, the PSA level in the blood should decrease to undetectable levels or detect even small amounts of residual cancer.

Radiation therapy (brachytherapy)

Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds in or near tumors in the prostate, which work alone or in combination with external beam radiation.

Which Prostate Cancer Treatment is Best for Me?

The best treatment for your prostate cancer depends on a number of factors.

It is important to consult both urologic surgeons and radiation oncologists to get the best recommendation.