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Prostate Cancer

Screenings | Diagnosis | Treatment

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. It is a cancer of the prostate gland, which is only found in men. This gland sits below the bladder. In most cases, men with prostate cancer are over 65 years of age, but it can occur in younger men.

Screenings

Patients who meet the following criteria should be screened for prostate cancer.

Average Risk

  • Age 50 to 75
  • Recommended Screening – Digital rectal exam every year and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests every year. Discuss screening risks and benefits with your health care provider.

Increased Risk

  • Age 40 to 75
  • You’re at increased risk if you fall under one or more of these groups:
    • Family history (especially father, brother, son) of prostate cancer
    • African-American
  • Men at increased risk are more likely to get prostate cancer. This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get cancer. But, you may need to start screening at an earlier age, get additional tests or be tested more often
  • Recommended Screening – Digital rectal exam every year starting at age 45 and Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test every year starting at age 45. Discuss screening risks and benefits with your health care provider.

Symptoms

Often times, prostate cancer in the early stages has no symptoms.  Advanced prostate cancer can include the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Weaker flow of urine
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Inability to empty bladder completely
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Pain in back, hips or pelvis that does not go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness

These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions. If you begin to experience any of the above symptoms, contact your physician for an appointment.

For more information call DMH Prostate Navigator 217-876-2338

Diagnosis

To help detect cancer in its early stages, your doctor may recommend a prostate specific antigen test (PSA) and a digital rectal exam (DRE).

DMH is on the forefront of prostate cancer diagnostic and treatment, offering the latest technology to help you detect prostate cancer.

Before you have symptoms.

PSA Test

PSA (prostate specific antigen) is a protein that is made by the prostate gland. A PSA test measures the level of the antigen in your blood. It is done with a sample of blood, which can be taken at your doctor’s office during a regular physical exam. It is normal for healthy males to have some PSA in their blood. Levels sometimes increase when prostate cancer is present. If your PSA increases, your doctor may order further tests.

Digital Rectal Exam

The digital rectal exam (DRE) may be done during a routine physical exam. The prostate gland lies next to the rectal wall. Normally, the prostate is roughly the size of a walnut. The doctor will use a gloved finger to feel the prostate through the rectum. This exam is done to find lumps or changes to the prostate gland.

Recurrence of prostate cancer:

C-11 Choline

DMH is one of only a few hospitals in the U.S. to adopt C-11 Choline PET/CT imaging — providing the unique opportunity to save more lives through earlier and more precise detection.

Treatment

Your physician will take into consideration a variety of factors when determining your treatment plan. Some of these factors include:

  • Stage of cancer
  • Your age
  • If it is recurring cancer
  • Your overall health
  • Possible side effects
  • Past treatments for prostate cancer

Be sure to talk to your physician about all of your treatment options and what is best for you. Your physician might recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

Surgery – If you are in good health and have a centralized tumor in your prostate gland, your physician might recommend surgery to remove the tumor. However, if you the tumor is large or close to your nerve endings, surgery might not be an available option.

Radiation Therapy – This treatment uses high-energy x-rays/radiation to help kill the cancer cells or keep them from growing.  Radiation therapy can be delivered in a variety of ways. Internally, where the radiation is delivered directly into the cancer or externally, where a machine delivers radiation outside the body. The way radiation therapy is given will depend on the type and stage of your cancer.

Hormone Therapy – With this treatment, your hormones are removed or blocked.  With prostate cancer, your hormones can help cancer cells grow.  Drugs, surgery, or additional hormones are used to reduce the amount of male hormones present or block them from working.

Chemotherapy – This treatment option uses drugs to help stop the growth of cancer cells by either killing them or preventing them from dividing.  They way that you receive chemotherapy

Biologic therapy – This is a treatment that uses your own immune system to help fight the cancer cells.  Substance manufactured by your own body or laboratory are used to boost your body’s natural defense against cancer.

Brachytherapy – Decatur Memorial Hospital offers low dose rate brachytherapy or permanent prostate implants.

Brachytherapy typically uses radioactive “seeds” that are smaller than a grain of rice. These seeds are inserted directly into the prostate. The seeds are left in the body permanently and the radioactivity will diminish over time.

The benefit of brachytherapy is that radiation oncologists can deliver extremely high radiation doses with pinpoint accuracy without treating adjacent organs or sensitive tissues. By also combining this procedure with image-guided technologies, such as positron emission tomography (PET) scans, doctors here have found that can more precisely control where brachytherapy is implanted. They also can lower the radiation dose as they see the tumor shrink or can modify the treatment plan at any point.

Resources:

Facts

NEW CASES – It is estimated that prostate cancer makes up 9.6 percent of all new cancer cases.

LIFETIME RISK – Approximately 11.6 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point throughout their life.

MEDIAN AGE – The average age of diagnosis is 66

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