Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland, which is responsible for making semen. Men who eat a high-fat diet (especially animal fats), have a family history of prostate cancer and are African-American may be at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer patients have excellent long-term survival rates when the cancer is caught early and treated effectively.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Usually, prostate cancer symptoms occur at the later stages of the disease. Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, testing can help detect prostate cancer before symptoms appear.
Potential symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Bone pain
- Dribbling or leakage of urine (usually after urinating)
- Problems with the urinary stream (delayed or slowed start, slow stream)
- Straining or inability to empty all of the urine
These symptoms can also be signs of other prostate issues, however, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. Talk with your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis at Valley
- Prostate biopsy: Your physician will likely order a biopsy of your prostate tissue in the following circumstances:
- PSA test indicates that your PSA level is high
- Rectal exam uncovers a prostate nodule
- MRI-guided fusion biopsy: At Valley, we offer MRI-guided fusion biopsy, known as the UroNav Fusion Biopsy System. This system combines MRI images of the prostate with ultrasound-guided biopsy images in real time, so that suspicious areas can be targeted for a tissue sample. This leads to a more accurate diagnosis.
Prostate Cancer Treatment at Valley
Treatment options at Valley include the following, depending on your cancer’s stage and your overall health, among other factors:
- Also known as “watchful waiting,” active surveillance means watching your prostate cancer for signs that it is progressing.
- Your physician will work with you to regularly test your PSA level, conduct a digital rectal exam and repeat a tissue biopsy.
Medication therapy options at Valley include:
- Hormone therapy: blocks the hormones that cancerous cells need for growth
- Biologic therapy: stimulates the immune system
Prostate surgery typically involves removing the cancerous prostate gland and related structures, including lymph nodes, known as prostatectomy.
Valley offers prostatectomy through minimally invasive robotic surgery using the da Vinci System.
Benefits of Prostatectomy Via Robotic Surgery:
- Faster recovery
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain at the surgical site
- Quicker return to normal activities
For some men, treating prostate cancer with radiation therapy can lead to unwanted side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, difficulty urinating, and bleeding with bowel movements.
At Valley, we offer advanced radiation options that alleviate some of these side effects:
- "Think Five" approach using stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT): involves the delivery of only 5 high-dose radiation treatments to the prostate compared to the standard course of up to 45 treatments. This "Think Five" approach allows many patients to complete their entire treatment in as little as one week.
- SpaceOAR® hydrogel: a gel-like material that temporarily moves the rectal wall away from the prostate during radiation therapy. The gel’s placement reduces the amount of radiation that the patient’s rectum receives during prostate treatments, which can reduce complications associated with radiation therapy.
- Gold markers (or, fiducial implantation): used to precisely locate the prostate.
Why Choose Valley for Prostate Cancer?
- Team approach to prostate cancer treatment: Our prostate cancer team includes a variety of specialists who work together to provide you with a personalized treatment plan. Our team includes a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon, urologist, registered dietitian, nurse, and social worker to provide you with comprehensive, integrated treatment.
- Minimally invasive robotic surgery: At Valley, our Urologic Oncology Center offers prostatectomy using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. Patients who have robotic surgery for prostate cancer typically have a shorter hospital stay, lower risk of complications, less pain, and a faster recovery and return to normal activities.
- Radiation therapy that minimizes side effects: Our radiation therapists use radiation techniques that minimize the side effects that can come with prostate cancer radiation therapy. For example, in clinical trials, SpaceOAR® hydrogel combined with radiation therapy resulted in improvements in bowel- and bladder-related quality of life and an increase in likelihood of preserved erectile function.
- Nurse navigator: Our nurse navigator helps make the prostate cancer treatment process run as smoothly as possible. Before your first visit, our nurse navigator will call you to conduct a comprehensive phone interview and obtain the relevant medical information. We will also make arrangements to obtain needed reports and imaging.