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Prostate Cancer

Mission Cancer brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists who provide comprehensive prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and management for prostate cancer. Our prostate cancer patients are able to visit with a number of our specialists in one location, receiving comprehensive and convenient care.

Our team of specialists include:

  • Fellowship-trained urologic oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Diagnostic radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Genetic counselors
  • Palliative care

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the prostate, a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. Located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, the prostate has many functions in the body, including producing seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm, aiding in urine control and secreting prostate specific antigen (PSA). As the abnormal cells grow, they may form a tumor, and can attack nearby tissues. While prostate cancer typically grows slowly, it is able to spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

While experts don’t know exactly what causes prostate cancer, certain factors may increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. These include:

  • Age: As you age, you have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer occurs most often in men older than age 65. It occurs in about 1 in 14 men between the ages of 60 and 69.
  • Race: African American men carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than men of other races.
  • Family history: If men in your family have had prostate cancer, you may have a high risk of developing prostate cancer. If you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may also be higher.
  • Obesity: Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that's more difficult to treat.
    Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

In its early stages, prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms. When prostate cancer is more advanced, however, it may cause symptoms such as:

  • Trouble urinating
  • A frequent urge to urinate, especially at night
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Painful or burning sensation after urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in semen or urine
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Erectile dysfunction

These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions that aren’t cancer, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis. Because of this, it is important to talk with your doctor to discuss your risk factors and determine if you need to be screened.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Between the ages of 40 and 54, you should talk with your doctor to make an informed decision about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. For men with an average risk of developing prostate cancer, the greatest benefit occurs between the ages of 55 and 69.

Click here to review the recommended guidelines 

Screening tests may include:

  • Digital rectal examination (DRE): In a digital rectal exam, your doctor inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to inspect your prostate. They can feel if there are any hard lumps on your prostate gland that could be tumors.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: This blood test detects your levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

If it is determined that you have cancer, you will first meet your physician-led oncology team, who will conduct a physical, and will perform a biopsy, a procedure in which the surgeon removes a small sample of tissue to determine if it has cancer. Additionally, your symptoms, medical history and family history will all be reviewed to determine if additional tests are needed. If it is determined that you have prostate cancer, a staging work-up will then be completed in order to best direct treatment. You may receive additional tests, including:

  • MRI
  • Transrectal ultrasound
  • Tumor marker (biomarker test)
  • Genomic Testing(Gene panel test on prostate tissue)
  • Genetic Testing(Testing hereditary genes for prostate cancer)

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Prostate cancer treatment is guided by the stage and grade of the cancer. Treatment continues to evolve more rapidly than ever, emphasizing the need for a commitment to a disease-focused approach. That’s why we deliver a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, bringing together surgical, medical and radiation oncologists with specialized expertise in treating prostate cancer, all in one location. Whether you need single, dual or a combination of all three therapies, you can be confident that you are receiving the highest level of care.

Early stage prostate cancer

If the cancer is small and localized, there are a few treatment options a doctor may recommend.

Active surveillance

The doctor will check PSA blood levels and perform prostate exams regularly but take no immediate treatment. This is mainly for low grade prostate cancer which is likely not to cause harm to the patient.

Surgery

Surgery may be recommended to remove the prostate, a procedure called a radical prostatectomy. At Mission, we partner with some of the most skilled surgeons in the region with special expertise in the surgical management of prostate cancer. Our surgeons use advanced robotic surgery techniques, allowing them to precisely perform complex surgical procedures through smaller incisions, which may allow for less pain, decreased blood loss, faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays.

Learn more about Mission Surgeons

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. At Mission, our therapists specialize by tumor type. They use the latest technologies and treatments, including the CyberKnife Robotic radiosurgery system, and coordinate care with your surgeon, medical oncologist, navigator and primary care physician to ensure precise and accurate treatment.

  • Brachytherapy: A doctor will implant radioactive seeds into the prostate to deliver targeted radiation treatment.
  • Conformal radiation therapy: This targets a specific area, minimizing the risk to healthy tissue.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy: This uses beams with variable intensity.

Learn more about radiation oncology.

Advanced prostate cancer

As cancer grows, it can spread throughout the body. If it spreads, or if it comes back after remission, the treatment options will change.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells, and may be used in combination with radiation therapy and other treatments. At Mission, our medical oncologists are experts in the tumor-specific disease processes, treatments and research options.

Learn more about medical oncology.

Find a medical oncologist.

Hormonal therapy

Androgens are male hormones. The main androgens are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Blocking or reducing these hormones appears to stop or delay the growth of cancer cells.

Support and Survivorship

We understand a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. That’s why we offer comprehensive support services to ensure we meet the educational, nutritional and psychological needs of our patients.

Click here to browse our support services.