Cancer Types - Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men. The LifeBridge Health urology team, along with the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at LifeBridge Health, offers screening, diagnostics and the full array of treatment options to detect and treat prostate cancer.

Screening

  • Digital rectal exam: A procedure in which the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall to check for hard or lumpy areas.
  • Blood test for prostate-specific antigen: A lab measures the levels of PSA in a blood sample. The level of PSA may rise in men who have prostate cancer; an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia; or infection in the prostate.

Symptoms

Prostate CancerEarly prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms, but as it becomes advanced, men with prostate cancer may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Inability to urinate
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs

Other health problems can cause any of these symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor so that any problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Diagnosis

If a person is suspected of having prostate cancer, a biopsy is performed to determine if cancer does exist. During a biopsy, the doctor removes tissue samples from the prostate, usually with a needle. A pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

Treatment

There are a number of different treatment options, including the following:

  • Watchful waiting: Just watching and not performing any therapy may be suggested for some men who have early-stage prostate cancer that appears to be slow growing.
  • Surgery: This is a common treatment for early-stage prostate cancer. There are two main types of surgical procedures to treat prostate cancer:
    1. Radical prostatectomy: In this surgical procedure, the entire prostate gland and some tissue around it are removed. This surgery is done only if it appears that the cancer has not spread outside the prostate.
    2. Transurethral resection of the prostate: This surgery is used for men who are not candidates for a radical prostatectomy. In the procedure, the surgeon inserts a tool with a wire hook into the penis and through the urethra to the prostate gland. Electricity is then passed through the wire to heat and cut away tissue. TURP may be done to relieve symptoms before other treatments begin. It is not done to cure the disease or to remove all the cancer. The procedure is used more often to relieve symptoms of noncancerous prostate enlargement.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. The Department of Radiation Oncology at Sinai Hospital provides the most advanced radiotherapy for many cancers.
  • Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. The Medical Oncology/Hematology Division at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore directs the chemotherapy program at LifeBridge Health.

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