Prostate cancer, in its early stages, may not be indicated by any symptoms related to urination. During the progression of prostate cancer, the following symptoms may be present: difficulty with beginning urination, a frequent need to urinate , primarily at night; the inability to urinate; weak or sporadic urine flow; painful or a burning sensation during urination; painful ejaculation; blood in the urine or semen; and pain in the back, hips or located in the extremities.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men. However, early detection often leads to the effective treatment of prostate cancer. In the majority of cases, prostate cancer will be detected while it is still localized, rather than metastasized (spread). When prostate cancer is detected early and treated, the five-year outcome is generally very successful. The prostate cancer screening process is critical in early detection.
It is recommended that males age 50 and greater be screened annually. Those with a family history of prostate cancer or those identified as African American, should begin annual screenings at age 40, as research data indicates race and genetics are factors in the development of this cancer.
Treatments for Prostate Cancer
Current treatments for prostate cancer are evaluated based upon the patient’s current health and the extent of the disease.
Biopsy. If cancer is suspected, a transrectal needle biopsy may be performed. This test is performed on an outpatient basis. The tissue sample is analyzed microscopically by a pathologist. The pathologist can confirm the diagnosis of cancer and provide an assessment of the growth rate. Prostate biopsies may also be performed using transrectal ultrasound (TRUS). Sound waves are sent out by a probe that has been inserted into the rectum. The sound waves bounce off the prostate, and a computer uses the echoes to generate a digital image called a sonogram, which assists in the guidance of the biopsy needle placement.
Our urologists choose the appropriate treatment for an individual based upon the type of prostate cancer, the degree to which the cancer has spread, the patient’s age and general state of health and any prior prostate cancer treatment.
Radical prostatectomy: The surgical option for prostate cancer. The radical retropubic prostatectomy procedure involves the complete removal of the prostate.
Brachytherapy: this treatment involves treatment with radiation through the implantation of radioactive pellets or seeds by a radiation oncologist and urologist. The radioactive pellets treat the prostate and local tissue over a period of time.
Chemotherapy: the use of drugs to attack and destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy may be taken orally or injected into the bloodstream. Injections are typically used in the treatment of prostate cancer and are administered periodically in the Urology clinic. Injections delivered every three or four months are typical time periods for administration of the chemotherapy for prostate cancer patients.
Cryoablation of the prostate: this treatment is an option for patients who have advanced prostate cancer. Transrectal ultrasound is used to image the prostate and direct placement of cryo needles into the prostate to permit freezing of the prostate.
Although each of the treatments described above , may achieve success in treating your prostate cancer, every case is unique and requires evaluation by your urologist.
The Department of Urology at the University of Virginia will work with you in developing a treatment plan that is appropriate for your condition.