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Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Treatment

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men, with more than 240,000 cases diagnosed each year. In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime during their lifetime. If detected early, prostate cancer can be stopped in its tracks by surgery or other treatments, yet many men let years go by without getting recommended screenings.

Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Other risk factors include being African American, or a family history. Depending on his risk factors, a man should begin talking with his physician about prostate issues around age 40 to 50.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is most successfully treated when detected early, before the appearance of symptoms. Doctors recommend a combination of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and digital rectal exam.

Symptoms at a later stage may include:

  • Urinary difficulties, including a slow stream or being unable to completely empty your bladder
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Bone pain or tenderness, most often in the lower back and pelvic bones

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

A prostate biopsy may be recommended if you have elevated PSA levels, or if your doctor feels an enlarged prostate or a hard uneven surface. A prostate biopsy, or a small sample of prostate cells, can be obtained through the rectum. This procedure can often be performed at a clinic or on an outpatient basis.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Treatment depends on the individual, age and aggressiveness of the cancer. Some patients may only require active surveillance, or watching and waiting. Other treatments:


Surgical removal of the prostate gland. If cancer is caught in the early stages, this procedure can be done minimally invasively through robotics, meaning that patients have a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. The precision of robotics technology helps surgeons spare nerves which control continence and sexual function.

External Beam Radiation

Including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) with fiducial marker placement, and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT).

Low-dose Radioactive Seed Implants

This is a form of brachytherapy.

High Dose-rate Brachytherapy

This is a form of brachytherapy.


PROVENGE is a new vaccine for the treatment of certain men with advanced prostate cancer. PROVENGE is immunotherapy, which is personalized with an individual’s own immune cells that have been activated to identify and attack prostate cancer cells. It is the first in a new class of cancer therapies.


Cryotherapy involves the freezing of prostate tissue.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy may be used for recurrence after treatment.