Prostate cancer is a cancer that forms in the prostate, a gland in a man’s reproductive system. It is typically a slow-growing cancer that most often occurs in older men. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men.
Prostate cancer symptoms
While there are typically no symptoms of prostate cancer in its early stages, some signs can include the following:
- Hematuria (blood in the 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
Having these symptoms does not mean you have prostate cancer. Other conditions have similar symptoms. Your doctor can help you determine the root of your problem.
Prostate cancer: what you should know
- It is rare to develop prostate cancer under age 40. But as you age, your risk for developing it increases.
- When detected early, prostate cancer is highly curable.
- Getting screened for prostate cancer is the best way to detect prostate cancer early because there are typically no symptoms of prostate cancer in its early stages.
- You should start getting screened for prostate cancer regularly starting 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.
How can I get help for prostate cancer?
If your primary care doctor finds that you have elevated PSA levels and recommends further testing and evaluation, prostate cancer specialists at Rush can diagnose the cancer and determine your treatment plan.
Care for prostate cancer at Rush
Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on the stage of the cancer and how fast it is growing. Your care may include one or more of the following:
- Active surveillance, in which doctors carefully and regularly evaluate slow growing prostate cancers that are not likely to spread.
- Biologic therapy (e.g., Provenge) uses your own immune system to fight cancer and boost their body’s natural defenses against cancer.
- Chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells and stopping them from growing.
- Cryotherapy, an alternative to surgery, freezes and kills abnormal cells in localized prostate cancer.
- Hormone therapy — including medications and/or surgery to remove one of both testicles — to prevent prostate cancer from growing.
- Radiation therapy (e.g., brachytherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy) kills the cancer or keeps it from spreading.
- Minimally invasive surgery (e.g., robotic-assisted prostatectomy, prostate resection) removes part or all of the prostate and surrounding tissue laparoscopically.
- Targeted therapy drugs find and attack cancer cells without harming normal, healthy cells.
Why choose Rush for prostate cancer care
- The urology program at Rush is consistently ranked among the best in the country in U.S. News & World Report.
- Many men with prostate cancer receive care through the Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Clinic at Rush, where a multidisciplinary team of experts in radiation oncology, medical oncology and urology collaborate to create a personalized plan of care for you.
- To detect prostate cancer more accurately, urologists at Rush use powerful new technology for visualizing and monitoring prostates of men who have high PSA levels. The new technology allows doctors to precisely target specific areas of the prostate for a biopsy, which was not possible before. Rush is the first hospital in Chicago to offer this technology.
- Urologists at Rush specialize in treating common side effects of prostate cancer treatment, including erectile dysfunction and incontinence, to help men regain their potency and full bladder control after treatment.
- Surgeons at Rush are highly skilled in minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, which offers patients shorter recovery times, less blood loss, decreased pain and better nerve-sparing (allowing for improved erections and continence), compared to open surgery.
- Rush is an official site for use of Provenge, a vaccine for men with advanced prostate cancer that can prolong life expectancy and increase quality of life.