Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. Located in the groin between the base of the penis and the rectum, the prostate supplies part of the seminal fluid necessary for reproduction. Prostate cancer occurs when a normal prostate cell begins growing out of control, deriving fuel from male sex hormones called androgens.
The vast majority of prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas developing from prostate fluid and most grow slowly. This slow pace, effective treatments and early detection make prostate cancer highly treatable.
One in eight men in America will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, the majority at age 65 or above. While it is serious, most men diagnosed do not die from the disease. More than three million men who have received a prostate cancer diagnosis at some time in their life continue to live with it.
Types of Prostate Cancer
- Adenocarcinomas, which develop from gland cells making prostate fluid. Nearly everybody diagnosed with prostate cancer has this type.
- Rare forms of prostate cancer include small cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors, transitional cell carcinomas, and sarcomas.
Prostate cancer rarely produces initial symptoms and may grow slowly for years without signs. Screening has an important role in detecting some prostate cancers in the early stage, making them more treatable.
The two most common screening methods are:
Digital Rectal Exam, or DRE: The physician inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any hard areas or bumps on the prostate that could be cancer. This process typically is painless and takes a very short time.
Prostate-Specific Antigen Test, or PSA: This blood test checks the amount of protein produced by cells in the prostate, measuring nanograms per milliliter, or ng/mL.
Click here to learn more about prostate cancer screening.
In the rare instances that prostate cancer symptoms appear, they can include:
- Urinary problems, such as frequent, urgent or burning urination.
- Difficulty starting or stopping the urinary stream.
- Weak or interrupted urine flow.
- Erectile difficulty
- Painful and/or less productive ejaculation
- Blood in the semen or urine.
- Rectum pain or pressure.
- Stiffness or pain in the lower back, hips, pelvis and/or thighs.
These symptoms do not mean you have prostate cancer; they may be caused by a number of other conditions. If you are experiencing any of them, see your doctor right away so the appropriate steps can be taken.
- Age is a primary risk factor for prostate cancer. The likelihood increases after 50 and most cases are diagnosed in men 65 or over. The disease is rare for those under 40.
- African-American men and men of African descent are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of other races and at an earlier age.
- Having a father, brother or son diagnosed with prostate cancer raises the risk.
- Some inherited genetic mutations appear to increase risk in a small percentage of cases.
We offer multiple approaches to treat and manage prostate cancer. We choose a treatment plan based on characteristics like a patient’s age, overall health and risk of disease. These treatment options include:
- Active surveillance: Sometimes, prostate cancer grows so slowly that it is unlikely to cause health problems or spread to other areas of the body. Active surveillance is an approach where doctors closely monitor tumors to see if they are growing, and start treatment if necessary.
- Radical prostatectomy: A surgery to remove the prostate. This surgery can typically be performed using robotic/laparoscopic techniques, which results in less pain, less blood loss and faster recovery.
- Radiation therapy: An approach that uses high energy rays to target cancer cells. We can perform this treatment using an approach called radiation seed placement, which uses tiny seeds that release radiation over time to target cancer cells.
- Hormonal therapy: Prostate cancer needs the male hormone, testosterone, to grow. Hormone therapy lowers the amount of testosterone in the body which can kill prostate cancer or slow its growth.
Superb Prostate Cancer Care
The Overlake Cancer Center, affiliated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, provides state-of-the-art prostate cancer care with our signature compassionate approach and emphasis on all dimensions of wellness. To make an appointment or for answers to any questions, call us today at 425-454-8016.