Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men in the United States and is the second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. men. Approximately one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, the good news is that only 3% of men diagnosed with the disease will die from it. Most men can be cured of prostate cancer.
The majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are typically older than 65. However, it can occur at any age. Most men have no symptoms related to prostate cancer when they are diagnosed. The biggest risk factors for prostate cancer include a family history of prostate cancer, especially in a close relative such as a father or brother, African descent, and older age. These days most prostate cancer is diagnosed at a very early stage due to widespread prostate cancer screening using the PSA blood test. An elevated PSA blood test will prompt further evaluation of the prostate which usually necessitates a prostate biopsy in order to confirm the presence of prostate cancer.
Treatment of prostate cancer can take various forms depending on the aggressiveness of the disease which is determined by the biopsy pathology, the extent of disease on the biopsy, and the PSA level. In unaggressive cancers, men can choose to watch their disease simply on a program called active surveillance where they get frequent PSA blood tests and annual prostate biopsies to determine if their cancer is getting more aggressive. Some cancers may never get more aggressive and never affect the health of the man. However, cancer can always be treated if it is determined that the cancer is getting more aggressive.
In men who are initially diagnosed with more aggressive prostate cancer treatment usually consists of radiation or surgery. In the past 10-15 years, technology has made great strides both in radiation and surgical treatments of prostate cancer. Today, surgical removal of the prostate has evolved to use robot-assisted minimally invasive techniques that help to decrease recovery time and hospital stay by a significant amount. Radiation therapy has also evolved to allow for very high doses radiation to be very precisely targeted on the prostate while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues and organs thereby minimizing radiation side effects.
Urologists are specially trained physicians that are experts in the management, treatment, and hopefully cure of prostate cancer. They can guide patients through what can be a very intimidating, scary, and confusing diagnosis of prostate cancer. If you or someone you know has questions or concerns regarding prostate cancer, please call our office or press the "Book Online" button to make an appointment to see one of our physicians.