Prostate cancer is the growth of malignant cells in the prostate, a walnut-sized male sex gland that surrounds the urethra. It is the second most common cancer among older American men – one in six will be diagnosed during his lifetime. Thanks to modern detection methods and innovative treatments, the five-year survival rate for men with prostate cancer has increased from 73 percent to 99 percent in the past 30 years.
It is important that you choose an experienced medical team to treat your prostate cancer. Leading the way, with advanced training and years of practice are our urologic surgeons. In their role as surgical oncologists, they collaborate with a group of internationally renowned experts, creating an individualized care plan – just for you.
Factors that contribute to an increased risk for developing prostate cancer include:
The prostate gland produces a substance called PSA, prostate specific antigen. A simple blood test checks PSA levels. Even among those with PSA levels less than one, the chance of prostate cancer is 10 percent. In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against PSA screening. As a result, PSA screening rates have decreased in the US, as first shown by work done by BWH Urology researchers. Dr. Adam S. Kibel, chief of urology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, however, believes that PSA screenings save lives. Since PSA testing began in the 1980s, prostate cancer deaths have been reduced by 10,000 men per year. Before PSA screening, prostate cancer claimed over 40,000 lives annually; now, prostate cancer claims fewer than 30,000.
Dr. Kibel said the task force based its recommendation on U.S. and European prostate cancer trial results. In his opinion, the U.S. trial did not adhere to proper test controls, screening men who were not recommended for screening. In the European trial, screening procedures were followed correctly. The larger European trial showed a clear benefit for PSA screening with a 20 percent decrease in the risk of prostate cancer deaths.
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital PSA Recommendations:
Brigham Health physicians continue to research new markers that could identify men at risk for prostate cancer.
Since most men do not present with symptoms, prostate cancer may not be discovered in its early stages. Signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer may include:
After 50, men should discuss pros and cons of testing with their doctor. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before 65, they should have this meeting with their doctor at age 45. Screenings include:
How often men are tested will depend on their PSA level.
If prostate cancer is caught early, the prognosis is excellent. Men with symptoms of advanced disease, elevated PSA levels, or enlarged prostates may also have these diagnostic tests:
After a biopsy confirms prostate cancer, the cancer grade and stage will be determined based on the aggressiveness of the cancer and whether it is confined to the prostate or has metastasized (spread to structures beyond the prostate).
Our multidisciplinary team will manage your care in a personal and individualized way. Treatment options depend on your age, overall health, disease aggressiveness, potential adverse effects and your personal preferences. Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital urologic surgeons often recommend a combination of innovative treatments to ensure the best possible outcome for prostate cancer patients.
Treatment may include:
Watch this video case study of a robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy by Dr. Adam Kibel (please note: this video opens in a new window inside of Brigham and Women's Hospital's website).
As you go through treatment for prostate cancer, it is critical that you communicate with your physician so that you have the most accurate information available. We recommend that you bring a loved one or friend with you during initial appointments to help you absorb all the information you will receive. Here are 12 questions to pose to your urologist:
You will receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in prostate cancer. Your experience post-treatment will vary depending upon the stage of your cancer. Early detection and the involvement of an experienced urologic surgeon are important to the successful outcome for prostate cancer treatment. After treatment, routine life-long surveillance is necessary.
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