Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men living in the United States. Most men with
prostate cancer will not die of this disease. However, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of
death from cancer in men.

The prostate is a gland that makes a white-colored fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids to form
semen. Semen is ejected from the body through the penis during ejaculation. The prostate fluid protects
sperm from the acid in a women’s vagina.

The prostate begins to form while a baby is still in the womb and reaches full size sometime during
puberty. At this point, it is about the size of a walnut. Testosterone causes the prostate to grow, so young
men with low testosterone may have a smaller prostate.

There are early detection programs available for prostate cancer screenings. There is some debate amongst
physicians about who, when and how to test for prostate cancer. In the past, most doctors have
recommended screenings begin at age 50. It is important for you to keep your doctor up to date on your
medical history and any symptoms you may be having. Most likely your doctor will perform a digital
rectal exam, or DRE. Your prostate can be easily felt since it is on the other side of the rectum wall. If
your doctor feels that your prostate is large, bumpy or hard, you most likely will be referred for a prostate

There is also a blood test available that measures prostate-specific antigens, or PSA. A prostate specific
antigen is a protein made by the cells where most prostate cancers start. Most men without disease have a
PSA level of 4ng/ml or less. If you PSA is elevated, your doctor may order a prostate biopsy.

There are several treatment options available for prostate cancer. Below are a few of the common options
available. You will want to discuss all available treatment options with your doctor to determine which one
is right for you.

  • Radical Prostatectomy- a removal of the entire prostate gland and nearby tissue
  • DaVinci Radical Prostatectomy-a prostatectomy done with the assistance of the DaVinci robot
  • Cryosurgery-treats tumors in the prostate by freezing the tissue and killing the cancer cells.
  • External beam radiation therapy – treatment delivers a beam of radiation from a machine outside the body and is done on an outpatient basis 5 days per week for several weeks.
  • Brachytherapy-placement of radioactive seeds inside your prostate.
  • Hormone deprivation therapy – keeps the body from making hormones which the cancer needs to grow.
  • Bilateral Orchiectomy – the surgical removal of both testicles which stops the production of testosterone.

The Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation web site, is a great source of
information regarding diagnosis and treatment.

What Patients Should Know about Prostate Screening570.35 KB