Prostate cancer is one of the most common – and treatable – forms of cancer among men, especially when caught early. In fact, thanks to improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment, over two million men in the U.S. are survivors of prostate cancer. You can trust us for education, early detection and screening, genetic risk factor assessment and next steps after a diagnosis.
When you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, every day counts. We help you review and understand your options quickly. Our compassionate care team provides in-depth expertise, and your nurse navigator will be with you every step of the way so you can begin treatment within days after cancer is detected.
Prostate cancer detection and diagnosis
Sometimes the first sign of prostate cancer is an abnormal finding during your annual preventive care visit. It’s possible, however, that you will notice symptoms first and need to contact your doctor about them. Possible signs of prostate cancer include problems urinating, (such as a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night), blood in the urine or semen and difficulty getting an erection.
If prostate cancer is suspected, your doctor will order a biopsy to confirm the cancer diagnosis. A pathologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing disease, will look at your cell samples to identify the presence of prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is confirmed, your doctor will order imaging tests to allow your cancer care team to better understand your condition and recommend the most effective, personalized course of treatment.
Innovative techniques and technologies offered
We target prostate cancer with some of the most advanced treatments and technology available. In the hands of our experts, tools such as these can lead to optimal results and improved survival rates:
- BioZorb® – A medical device that allows radiation oncologists to precisely target areas of the prostate where a cancerous tumor was removed.
- Brachytherapy seed implants – A surgical procedure where doctors place tiny radioactive pellets inside the prostate.
- da Vinci® robot – A robotic surgical system designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach. This system enables surgeons to make smaller, more precise movements with tiny instruments inside your body, which can help you heal more quickly.
- MarginProbe® – An innovative technology that allows surgeons to detect and remove microscopic cancer cells while still in surgery, thereby reducing the need for additional operations.
- TrueBeam™– A medical device that delivers a radiation beam to target the cancer growth while exposing healthy cells to minimal radiation. No incisions are made; the noninvasive device rotates around the patient, delivering the radiation dose from different angles.
You will need to call your local hospital to learn which of these options are available in your area.
How We Treat Prostate Cancer
Your case is unique, which means your treatment plan will be designed around your needs. Every week, a team of specialists meets to discuss cancer cases and collaborate on the best treatment for each patient. You benefit from the combined expertise of specialists in radiology, surgery, pathology, pharmacology, oncology and therapists in fields like physical therapy and psychology.
Your recommended treatment will be based on best practices that have worked for other patients, specific aspects of your cancer, the results of all your tests, the stage of your cancer and your personal preferences.
Prostate cancer is typically treated with one method at a time, although in some cases treatments may be combined. Treatment options might include watchful waiting (actively monitoring your health and the disease), surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, vaccine treatment or bone-directed treatment.
- Watchful waiting (active surveillance) - Not every man with prostate cancer needs to be treated right away. In many cases, early-stage prostate cancer will not spread or cause any side effects for quite a while, if ever. Because of this, your doctor may recommend not treating your prostate cancer immediately with invasive treatments, but instead suggest actively monitoring your cancer. This treatment plan is known as watchful waiting. Treatment can be done if the cancer grows quickly or causes any concerning symptoms.
- Cancer surgery - When the decision is made to treat prostate cancer, surgery is the most common choice if the cancer has not spread outside the prostate gland. Your surgical procedure depends on the specific type of cancer, where it is, how much it has spread and other factors. Surgery often involves a radical prostatectomy, where the entire prostate gland, seminal vesicles and some healthy tissue are removed. Your doctor may also do surgery to see if the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or your bones, which may require other types of treatment after surgery.
- Radiation therapy - Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. It may be the first line of treatment for cancer that has not spread or be used in combination with hormone therapy for cancers that have spread slightly into the surrounding soft tissue. It may be used after surgery to kill cancer cells that remain in the prostate or any cancer that returns. Radiation may also be chosen to keep cancer under control if it is advanced and to help prevent and relieve symptoms. There are two types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which may be used individually or at the same time:
- External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) - Uses a machine similar to an X-ray machine to deliver radiation to your prostate
- Internal radiation or brachytherapy - Uses tiny radioactive seeds or tubes put into your body to send radiation to your prostate
- Cryotherapy - Also known as cryosurgery or cryoablation, cryotherapy is used to treat early-stage prostate cancer. Cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures to freeze and kill prostate cancer cells. It’s not recommended as the first line of treatment, but is used if the cancer has returned following radiation therapy.
- Hormone therapy - This treatment stops the growth of cancer cells that rely on certain hormones. Hormone therapy is done through medicines, such as LHRH analogs, CYP17 inhibitors or anti-androgens, or through removal of the testicles, which make hormones. Hormone therapy may be used after surgery or radiation therapy to decrease the chance of prostate cancer coming back or of a new cancer growing. It’s used to treat cancer that has spread when other treatment options aren’t available. It’s sometimes used as an initial treatment with radiation therapy if you’re at a high risk of the cancer returning after treatment. This is determined by your Gleason score high PSA levels and / or growth of the cancer outside the prostate.
- Vaccine treatment
Sipuleucel-T is a cancer vaccine that boosts the immune system to help it attack prostate cancer cells. The vaccine is used to treat advanced prostate cancer that is no longer responding to hormone therapy. The vaccine is custom made for each individual using their white blood cells and given through an IV three times over the course of six weeks.
- Vaccine treatment
- Chemotherapy and infusion - Chemotherapy and infusion use powerful medicines to kill cancer cells all through the body. They may be used to shrink a tumor before surgery or to kill any cancer cells that remain after local treatments. Chemotherapy may also treat cancer that has appeared in other places in the body. Prostate cancer that has spread can be treated with chemotherapy, usually in combination with hormone therapy if hormone therapy alone isn’t working well enough.
Current studies are underway to determine if chemotherapy is a beneficial treatment if given for a short time after prostate surgery.
Care and Support
Your care team
Our prostate care teams know that great care is the result of seamless communication between you, your family and your existing healthcare providers. When you have this kind of collaboration, you can expect a more efficient, effective and tailored approach to meeting your individual needs.
Our care coordinators will guide you and your family through treatment while supporting your choices, removing barriers to timely care, offering education, helping you make decisions and connecting you with appropriate support services.
Life beyond prostate cancer
With earlier detection, more patients are surviving prostate cancer than ever before. Our survivorship program gives you access to specialists who partner with you for your post-treatment. This program focuses on nutritional goals, healthy living and emotional well-being.
We’ll also help you set up regular medical checkups with your primary doctor to prevent, detect and manage any complications related to your cancer or cancer treatment. Because you may be at higher risk for second cancers, screening and surveillance are essential to your long-term health. This is especially important if you decide to use watchful waiting, where you and your doctor actively monitor your prostate cancer.