Aspirus Regional Cancer Center

Prostate Cancer

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Roughly 86 percent of all prostate cancers are discovered while they are either localized (confined to the prostate) or regional (nearby).

Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 50, but by the time they are 80, more than half of all men will have some cancerous growth. Because prostate cancer is usually slow-growing, it often goes unnoticed and rarely is the cause of death, the older a man gets.

Some common risk factors for prostate cancer include:
  • Age – More than 60 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.
  • Race – Prostate cancer is nearly 70 percent more common among African-American men than it is among Caucasian-American men.
  • Diet – Data suggests men who eat diets with large amounts of fat have a greater chance of developing prostate cancer.
  • Obesity
  • Family history – Having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles or triples a man’s risk of developing the disease. The risk is even higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if the relatives were young at the time of diagnosis.
  • Genetic factors – Some men have a genetic makeup that puts them at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer.

Screening

An annual physical exam, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exams (DRE) provide the best chance of identifying prostate cancer in its earliest stages. You should consult your physician prior to undergoing any prostate screenings.

If it is determined that a prostate screening is appropriate for you, you will likely undergo a PSA or a DRE. To learn more about these tests, please click below:

DRE (digital rectal examinations)
PSA (prostate-specific antigen) and PAP (prostatic acid phosphatase)

If the DRE or PSA are unusual, your physician may repeat the tests or request an ultrasound and other procedures. These evaluation tools may include:

Classtransrectal ultrasound (TRUS)
Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Radionuclide bone scan
(Lymph node and/or prostate) biopsy

Symptoms

There are usually no specific symptoms of early prostate cancer. If symptoms are present, individuals experience them differently. They also can resemble other conditions or medical problems, so you should always consult your physician for a diagnosis if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Urinating often (especially at night).
  • Difficulty urinating or holding back urine.
  • Inability to urinate.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Nagging pain in the back, hips or pelvis.
  • Difficulty having an erection.

Treatment

If you have prostate cancer, you need to consider your age and general health before making a decision about treatment. You also need to think about which side effects you can live with. Some men, for example, cannot imagine living with side effects such as incontinence or impotence. Other men are less concerned about these and more concerned about survival.

Treatment decisions are often hard to make by yourself. No written information can take the place of talking directly with your health care professionals. Primary care doctors can help you choose the treatment that is best for you. You might find that speaking with others who have faced or are currently facing the same issues is useful.

Overviews of treatment options:

Observation
da Vinci prostatectomy surgery
Other surgeries
Radiation therapy
Hormonal therapy
Chemotherapy
Angiogenesis inhibitors
Clinical trials (research studies)