Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in males that uses male hormones called androgens, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), to trigger and maintain male sex characteristics and reproduction. Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control.

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about one man in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

In many cases, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that does not spread beyond the prostate gland before the time of diagnosis. However, some cases are more aggressive and need more urgent treatment. Prostate cancer that is detected early, when it is still confined to the prostate gland, has the best chance for successful treatment.

Researchers have found several factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, including:

  • Age: your chance of developing prostate cancer rapidly increases after the age of 50, and roughly six in ten cases are found in men over the age of 65.
  • Race/ethnicity: prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races
  • Family history: in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor that can help indicate prostate cancer. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is more than double the risk of developing this disease.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Include:

  • Trouble Urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Blood in your semen
  • Pain in your hips or back
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight Loss

Because these symptoms may overlap with those of other conditions, it is important to get the correct diagnosis to find the right treatment. To help determine the best option for you the American Cancer Society recommends prostate screenings.

What is a Prostate Screening?

As with all cancers, an important part of the treatment process is detecting the cancer as early as possible. SouthWest Urology recommends following the American Cancer Society’s guide for prostate cancer screening. The screening process will include the following:

  • A digital rectal exam
  • PSA testing
  • Imaging of the prostate gland

Typically, if an initial digital rectal exam comes back with abnormal results, the next step would be a PSA blood test followed by an imaging test of the prostate gland. Should your PSA levels be high, a prostate biopsy may be recommended as a follow up to the screening. A biopsy is a procedure in which small samples of the prostate are removed and then looked at under a microscope. If prostate cancer is found on a biopsy, this test can also help tell how likely it is that the cancer will grow and spread quickly.

If you are interested in getting a prostate screening, please fill out the form, and one of our team members will contact you to set up an appointment.

    How do we treat prostate cancer?

    At SouthWest Urology, we utilize various types of radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays that target specific cancer sites. Our advanced technology allows us to precisely aim the radiation at the tumor while avoiding damage to the normal, healthy cells. Radiation may be used to destroy cancer cells, relieve symptoms associated with cancer, and/or prevent the cancer from returning.

    Your treatment is custom-tailored and unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Your radiation oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation) will review all available treatment options and recommend a personalized plan for you based on national guidelines, which guide all cancer treatments. Radiation therapy is used either alone or in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery.

    Radiation can be delivered either from outside the body with a machine called a linear accelerator (external beam radiation) or from a radiation source implanted permanently or temporarily in the body (brachytherapy).

    WHAT TO EXPECT

    1

    Initial Scans

    To create a customized treatment plan, you will have a CT or PET/CT scan to identify the exact location of your cancer.
    2

    Pre-Treatment Preparation

    Ink marks or small tattoo-like dots will be placed on your skin in the area of the tumor to ensure the radiation is delivered to the tumor. The markings will be visible on your skin, but only in the area of the tumor and are permanent. They are designed to fade and will begin to disappear towards the end of your radiation treatments. Occasionally, the markings will have to be reapplied to your skin during treatment. It is very important that you do not scrub the markings during your bathing/showering. Your radiation therapist will discuss with you how to care for your skin during your treatments, including protecting the markings.
    3

    Radiation Treatment Scheduling

    Radiation treatments happen Monday through Friday for a number of weeks, usually for 5-8 weeks. Weekend breaks, on Saturday and Sunday, allow your normal cells to recover and assist your healing process.
    4

    Treatment Room

    Our radiation therapists will bring you from the waiting room, into the treatment room with the linear accelerator (radiation machine). The therapist will make you comfortable in the room and assist you in getting positioned on the treatment table.
    5

    Delivery Machine Setup

    Two therapists will align the laser to the target on your skin, indicated by the “tattoo-like” markings. Alignment takes only a couple of minutes. The therapists will then leave the room to deliver and monitor your treatment.
    6

    Delivery of Radiation Therapy

    During the treatment the machine will move over your body. You won’t feel anything. It’s much like having an x-ray. Sometimes the specific area of skin receiving treatment, can get tender and sunburned, your healthcare team will want to know if you are experiencing any burning or discomfort during your treatment. Your healthcare team will guide you with proper care of your skin. Typically the treatment takes about 10-15 minutes. The most common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue – it is very important to get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition.
    7

    Post Treatment Followup

    Generally, you will see your doctor weekly. However, we are always available if you need us.

    Take The Next Step

    If are showing any of the symptoms listed on this page, are prone to the risks listed above, or are seeking more information on prostate cancer screenings or available treatment options, please click on the button below. Our friendly, courteous staff is always willing to answer questions, and we make every effort to make your visit as comfortable as possible. If you have need for our team of urology specialists, contact us today!

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