The prostate is a small gland in men that creates the seminal fluid necessary for the healthy development and transport of sperm. It is an essential part of the male reproductive system. Unfortunately, prostate cancer is among the most common male-only cancers. The good news about prostate cancer is that it usually grows slowly and stays contained within the prostate gland. This typically requires little to no medical intervention.
Some men develop a more aggressive type of prostate cancer that quickly spreads to other parts of the body. It then becomes more difficult to accurately diagnose and treat. Detecting prostate cancer early before it spreads is critical to achieving a successful outcome.
Learn to Recognize the Early Indications of Prostate Cancer
Some men experience no symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer while others have mostly urinary issues. This is due to the close physical proximity of the prostate to the urethra and bladder. If a tumor is present in the urethra, it can prevent the normal flow of urine. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Grant Franklin, Jr. or Dr. Viacheslav Iremashvili at United Hospital Center (UHC) Urology right away, if you recognize any of these symptoms:
- Blood present in semen
- Blood present in urine
- Burning or other type of painful sensation while urinating
- Difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Need to get up more often at night to relieve yourself
- Pain during ejaculation
- Weak urine stream
You may also experience bone pain, swelling in your pelvic area or legs, and numbness in the feet, hands, or legs as prostate cancer advances.
Causes and Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer
Urologists are not entirely clear about what causes prostate cancer. What they do know is that prostate cancer begins when the cells within the gland shift from normal to abnormal. When this happens, the DNA present in the abnormal cells begin to divide and grow, sometimes slowly and sometimes rapidly. Tumors form when the abnormal cells continue to divide and kill the healthy cells. The cancer has metastasized when abnormal cells break apart and spread to other parts of the body.
Although you cannot always control whether you get prostate cancer, men who share certain risk factors develop it at higher rates than men with fewer or no risk factors. These include:
- African American origin: Although medical researchers do not understand why, black men develop prostate cancer at higher rates than men of all other races. Black men are also more likely to have an advanced form of the disease.
- Aging: The risk of prostate cancer naturally increases with age.
- Family history: Your risk can increase if genetically related men in your family have also had prostate cancer. It can also be higher if women in your family have inherited the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene that increases their risk of breast cancer.
- Obesity: Men who carry extra weight tend to develop a more advanced form of prostate cancer than those at a healthy weight. It can also be more difficult to treat cancer of the prostate in larger men.
Detecting and Prostate Cancer
UHC Urology uses UroNav, a combination MRI and ultrasound that allows Dr. Franklin or Dr. Iremashvili to obtain the most accurate biopsy results. It is also much less invasive than a typical biopsy. This eliminates the need to undergo multiple procedures and does not produce side effects as other types of equipment can do. With UroNav, Dr. Franklin or Dr. Iremashvili can see clear, real-time images that provide a detailed view of the prostate and any lesions that look suspicious.
In addition to a biopsy and images taken from UroNav, your provider may choose to complete advanced genomic testing to look for abnormalities in the DNA of cancer cells. You should also expect to undergo a digital rectal exam where your doctor feels for abnormal growths using a gloved hand.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
Careful monitoring is usually the best course of action when cancer cells are contained within the prostate. You do not necessarily need treatment, but Dr. Franklin or Dr. Iremashvili may recommend routine biopsies, a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, or other types of exams to ensure the cancer does not spread. The most common treatment recommendations for more advanced forms of prostate cancer include:
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy
You may also be eligible to participate in a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of new treatments.
Request an Appointment with UHC Urology if You are Concerned About Symptoms
Although it is never fun to receive a cancer diagnosis, the American Cancer Society states that prostate cancer has nearly a 100 percent survival rate when the abnormal cells remain within the prostate or only spread to nearby structures or lymph nodes. The survival rate after five years drops to only 31 percent when cancer spreads to areas of the body further away from the prostate such as the bones, liver, or lungs. It is very important to come in for screenings or to report any new symptoms. You may reach UHC Urology at 681-342-3660.
Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.