The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland that produces semen. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Prostate cancer that is detected early — when it's still confined to the prostate gland — has a better chance of successful treatment. Prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. Prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause difficulty with urination or back or pelvic pain. Risks for prostate cancer include: advanced age, family history and race.
Most prostate cancer is discovered through routine screening which includes a rectal exam and a blood test, called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Medical organizations don't agree on the benefits of screening. Discuss your particular situation and the benefits and risks of screening with your doctor. Together you can decide whether prostate cancer screening is appropriate for you. If initial test results suggest prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend a procedure to collect a sample of suspicious cells from your prostate (prostate biopsy). Prostate biopsy is often done using a thin needle that's inserted into the prostate to collect tissue. The tissue sample is analyzed in a laboratory to determine whether cancer cells are present.
When present, prostate cancer can be treated with open surgery, robotic surgery, radiation therapy directed from outside the body, radiation pellets placed within the body (brachytherapy), cryotherapy (freezing the prostate gland), or hormone therapy. The treatment options available to a particular patient depend on the extent and aggressiveness of the cancer as well as the patient’s age and overall health. After treatment, patients will have follow up blood work to confirm successful treatment of the cancer.