Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man’s prostate – a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It is usually diagnosed by an elevated PSA blood test or through an abnormal prostate exam. These tests should be performed each year in men beginning at age 50. We recommend beginning at age 35-40 in black men or men with a family history of prostate cancer, as their risk is higher.
At Texas Urology Specialists we offer the most up to date, state of the art diagnostic procedures and treatment options in the country. Dr. Ashley Ross, who is a world leader in prostate cancer heads up our Prostate Cancer Center of Excellence.
How common is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting one in seven men. Approximately 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and more than 27,000 will die from the disease. One new case occurs every 2.4 minutes and a man dies from prostate cancer every 19.1 minutes. It is estimated that nearly three million men in the U.S. are currently living with prostate cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
At its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. However, some men will experience symptoms such as frequent, hesitant, or burning urination, blood in the semen, erectile dysfunction, bone pain or pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
Because these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other diseases or disorders, a thorough medical work-up may be needed to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.
How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Typically, prostate cancer is diagnosed with a combination of a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE). At Texas Urology Specialists we are now using much more sophisticated studies such as Free and Total PSA, 4K score and Prostate Health Index (PHI). Sometimes a prostate biopsy is indicated if there is an abnormal PSA or prostate exam.
In many cases MRI can be used to help guide decisions. We utilize a specialized 3T MRI located at the Texas Center for Proton Therapy. These unique MRI studies are read by specially trained radiologists and help to decrease the number of biopsies performed while increasing the number of significant prostate cancers discovered. If a significant abnormality is found by MRI, a UroNav fusion biopsy will be performed. This innovative technology helps pinpoint the area of abnormality during a biopsy to minimize the chance of missing the cancer. These specialized biopsies are typically performed by Dr. Ashley Ross who has performed thousands of these over his career.
How do you treat Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer that is detected early, while it is still confined to the prostate gland, has a better chance of successful treatment. There are a variety of treatment options available, including surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, proton therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Many times if a prostate cancer is considered low risk, it can be watched with active surveillance protocol.
Once a diagnosis of prostate cancer is made, a detailed discussion of the findings and options is done with the patient and family. At Texas Urology Specialists, we provide many options for treatment. Many times no treatment is needed if it is low risk. For higher risk cancers we offer IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) at one of our many locations or even Proton Therapy which is available at the Texas Center for Proton Therapy.
Sometimes more aggressive treatments like Cryotherapy or Robotic Prostatectomy may be indicated. Dr. Ashley Ross provides these treatments and has the most advanced DaVinci® robotic systems available to him at several convenient locations. Dr. Ross is an internationally recognized leader in prostate cancer and provides a “concierge” style of care to all of his patients.
Can Prostate Cancer Spread?
Spread of prostate cancer can be suspected if the PSA begins to rise after treatment has occurred or if there is a very high PSA at diagnosis. Patients that have any significant bone pain may also need to be evaluated for metastatic disease. A bone scan can be utilized to identify if the cancer has spread to the bones. At the Texas Center for Proton Therapy we offer Axumin® PET/CT scans which is the most advanced and state of the art study available to detect if the cancer has spread. It offers a significant advantage over the bone scan as it can pick up metastases much earlier. If the prostate cancer has been found to have spread, there are still many good options that are available to you through our talented doctors at Texas Urology Specialists and Texas Oncology.