Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate gland. It is typically slow-growing and is the most common cancer for men in the U.S. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. At Rush, our prostate cancer specialists offer advanced treatment options and focus on minimizing side effects of prostate cancer and treatment, including erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
Signs You Should Get Help for Prostate Cancer
While there are typically no symptoms of prostate cancer in its early stages, you should call your primary care doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Blood in your urine
- Difficulty having an erection
- Frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
- Needing to urinate more often, especially at night
- Pain and difficulty urinating
- Weak flow of urine and urine flow that starts and stops
Prostate Cancer Treatment at Rush
The first step is to get screened for prostate cancer. If it's detected early, it's very curable. Your risk increases at age 40, and you should start getting screened regularly at age 50. Your primary care doctor or urologist will perform a digital rectal exam and a blood test that detects elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.
If your primary doctor finds that you have elevated PSA levels, they may recommend further testing and evaluation with a urologist for diagnostic testing and care planning.
How Can I Get Help for Prostate Cancer?
Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on the stage of the cancer and how fast it's growing. Your care may include one or more of the following:
- Active surveillance: Doctors carefully and regularly evaluate slow-growing prostate cancers that are not likely to spread.
- Biologic therapy: Medications that use your own immune system to fight cancer and boost their body’s natural defenses against cancer.
- Chemotherapy: The treatment kills the cancer cells and stopping them from growing.
- Cryotherapy: This is an alternative to surgery, and it freezes and kills abnormal cells in localized prostate cancer.
- Hormone therapy: This includes medications and/or surgery to reduce the male hormone testosterone to prevent prostate cancer from growing.
- Targeted therapy drugs: These drugs find and attack cancer cells without harming normal, healthy cells.
- Minimally invasive surgery: This robotic-assisted surgery, called a prostatectomy, removes part or all of the prostate and surrounding tissue laparoscopically.
- Radiation therapy: At Rush, we have several kinds of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, including the following:
- External beam radiation therapy (EBRT): Also known as intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT, this method uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and is administered over several weeks of daily treatments.
- Brachytherapy: Also known as internal radiation therapy, brachytherapy uses small radioactive pellets, or “seeds,” that are placed directly into the prostate to deliver radiation over a period of several months.
- Radiosurgery: This where we treat prostate cancer with SBRT using the TrueBeam™ STx system. TrueBeam is a non-invasive prostate cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator rotating around the body. Hundreds of angles and beamwidth adjustments in the TrueBeam-prescribed treatment plan enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): This treatment method uses advanced image guidance software to deliver high dose radiation to the prostate cancer with sub-millimeter accuracy. Treatment is completed in five or fewer outpatient sessions and results in less radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
Rush Excellence in Prostate Cancer Care
- Expertise in minimally invasive surgery: Your prostate cancer will be treated by our urologists who are some of the country’s leading laparoscopic and robotic surgeons. They offer many treatment options from their own area of expertise, including image-guided biopsies for prostate cancer. Rush was one of the first hospitals in the city to use the da Vinci Surgical System and has treated more than one thousand prostate cancer patients with this advanced surgical technology that offers a minimally invasive alternative for complex prostate surgery.
- Nationally ranked excellence: U.S. News & World Report ranks Rush University Medical Center among the best in the nation for cancer care and urology.
- Leading-edge treatments and personalized medicine: Rush urologists are known for pioneering treatment options and research for patients with prostate and other urologic cancers. They also work closely with Tempus — a biotechnology company that analyzes your specific genetic and clinical data to provide information about how your cancer may respond to targeted treatments. This allows your care team to tailor your treatment to find the most effective option for treating your specific cancer. For higher-risk patients, we offer access to care you would not find elsewhere through our clinical trials.
- Minimized side effects of treatments: We focus on effective treatments that also minimize the risk of side effects like erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Our expert urologists will work with you to regain potency and bladder control throughout and after your treatment.
- Follow-up care where — and when — you need it: Prostate cancer is a condition that requires follow-up care. We offer care at a number of convenient locations in Chicago, Oak Park and Aurora/Fox Valley.