Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer that affects men, and it is the leading cause of death by cancer for men. Many cases of prostate cancer are easily treatable if found early. Altru Health System’s oncology and urology specialists are here for you and your family to ensure an optimal outcome with caring and experienced providers.
Altru Cancer Center providers also have access to experts at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic through the Mayo Clinic Care Network, giving you access to advanced cancer treatments and, in some cases, eliminating the need for you to travel far from home for prostate cancer treatment.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 5 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, most of them over the age of 50. The disease occurs when abnormal cancer cells form in the prostate gland. The prostate is just below the bladder and is involved in semen production.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
The biggest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of prostate cancer
- Race—African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
You may have no signs of prostate cancer, which is why screening is important. Your primary care provider can help determine if you need to be screened for prostate cancer based on your individual circumstances. The most common symptoms of prostate cancer are problems with urination or erectile function. You may experience:
- Blood in urine
- Difficulty starting the flow of urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Frequent urination (especially during the night)
- Interrupted or weak flow of urine
- Lower back or pelvic pain
- Pain while urinating
- Sudden urge to urinate
- Trouble emptying the bladder completely
These symptoms are also associated with benign conditions, which is why it’s important to see a medical provider.
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends men begin a conversation with a healthcare provider about getting prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests once they turn 50. Some men, depending on their risk factors and family history, may choose to inquire about screenings earlier. Men with a low PSA level in their blood may opt to continue screenings every two years, while men with a higher but not worrisome level may need annual screenings. A digital rectal exam may also be used.
If a high PSA level is found, further screening will be done. This may involve ultrasound or MRI imaging, followed by a biopsy.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Treatment options for prostate cancer will vary depending on the type of cancer you have and whether it has spread outside the prostate. Your options may include:
- Chemotherapy, when the cancer has progressed outside the prostate
- Active surveillance, more closely monitoring for changes that may require treatment
- Hormone therapy
- Surgery to remove the prostate
Recovery from Prostate Cancer
Everyone’s cancer journey is different, and your recovery will depend on your age, the type of cancer you have and the treatment you receive. Whether you have surgery or radiation, you are likely to experience problems with incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Our team at Altru can help you decide what treatment options are best for you at this stage in your life.
The oncology experts at Altru can help you navigate our services for prostate cancer. Call 701.780.5400 to speak with someone on our team.