Prostate Cancer Overview
Prostate cancer is typically a very slow-growing cancer that may take decades to become threatening. About 217,730 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year, the National Cancer Institute estimates, and the disease will claim about 32,050 lives.
The prostate, a small organ about the size of a walnut, is below the bladder (where urine is stored) and surrounds the urethra. Researchers estimate that one in four men have some cancerous prostate cells by age 50; by age 80, that number rises to one in two. Caught early while the cancer is still within the prostate, the disease is highly curable. About 95 percent of all prostate cancers are of the slow-growing type known as adenocarcinoma.
WellStar Health System provides superior care for prostate cancer, offering a comprehensive spectrum of top-notch physicians, treatment options and diagnostic tools. In addition WellStar offers such innovative advantages in the fight against prostate cancer, including:
- Dedicated prostate surgeons, who practice state-of-the-art care in a collegial atmosphere, as well as medical oncologists with special interest in prostate cancer. This includes those trained in robotic surgery as well.
- The entire spectrum of diagnostic and interventional treatments - including PSA screening, laparoscopic surgery and other surgery to remove pre-cancerous and cancerous growths.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), a treatment that allows for the radiation to be tailored to the size and placement of the tumor, while sparing healthy tissue.
- Active, frequent tumor boards for review of cases
- Clinical trials - more than 200 patients are enrolled annually in WellStar programs
Early stage prostate cancer is highly treatable through surgery or radiation. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological agents have been effective in keeping the disease from spreading for a time.
And there is new hope for those with advanced disease, as new drugs have just received FDA approval to treat it. One such drug, Provenge®, actually uses a man’s own cells to produce a “vaccine” that will help keep his prostate cancer from returning for a while. Provenge® is only for use in advanced disease, and not all patients are candidates for it. Talk to your WellStar physician to determine if you may be a candidate for this therapy.
Symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Frequent urination(especially at night)
- Difficulty urinating
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Persistent pain in the back, hips or pelvis
While some of these symptoms can also be symptoms of something far less serious, it is important to see your WellStar physician if any of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks.
- Older age
- Black or African American ethnicity
- Family history