What is the prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland below the bladder that surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder, through the penis and out of the body). The prostate produces prostate fluid, which is one of the components of semen. If the prostate gets too big -- either because of prostate cancer or a problem like benign prostatic hyperplasia -- it can block the passage of urine.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate. It tends to grow slowly over many years, but in later stages, the growth usually speeds up. As the cancer grows, it can spread outside the prostate -- usually into nearby lymph nodes and bones.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
We don’t know the specific cause of prostate cancer. However, researchers believe there are several factors that cause and encourage prostate cancer to grow, including:
- Genetics, or family members passing down genes that cause cancer
- Other environmental factors
Prostate cancer generally occurs in older men, but younger men can have the disease, too. African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at a higher risk.
Regular prostate cancer screening tests are important for all men, and especially those at high risk. Your best chance of successfully treating the cancer depends on finding it early and beginning treatment as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Many men who have prostate cancer have no physical symptoms because of the cancer’s slow growth and the prostate’s location in the body. But if the prostate grows large enough, you may have all or some of the following warning signs:
- Blockage of urinary flow
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Frequent urination
- Nighttime urination
- Straining to empty the bladder
- Urgent need to urinate
- Urinary leakage
These may not necessarily be prostate cancer symptoms. They’re also frequent symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, if you have any of these potential warning signs of prostate cancer, it’s important to talk to your doctor about them.
What are my prostate cancer treatment options?
We offer a range of treatment options for prostate cancer, including therapies such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation therapy. We also offer different surgery options. Your treatment plan may include one or a combination of these methods.
Chemotherapy for prostate cancer
Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy typically isn’t an effective treatment for early-stage prostate cancer.
We may use chemotherapy if the cancer has spread to other areas. We also may recommend chemotherapy along with other therapies to slow the cancer’s growth and reduce pain.
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer
Prostate cancer depends on male hormones to grow. In hormone therapy -- also known as androgen suppression therapy -- we prevent prostate cancer cells from getting these male hormones.
We use several different methods for prostate cancer hormone therapy:
- Orchiectomy: This is a surgical removal of the testicles, which produce 90 percent of male hormones.
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogues: We can inject these medications into the muscles several times per year, and they’re as effective as an orchiectomy.
- Anti-androgens: These medications block the body’s ability to use male hormones. We may use anti-androgens along with an orchiectomy or LHRH analogues.
- Intermittent androgen suppression therapy