Improved diagnostic techniques may lead to earlier diagnosis, earlier treatment and improve cure rates for many urological cancers. Our emphasis is focused on finding a curative treatment for our patients. Yet, we understand the importance of maintaining an excellent quality of life.
Prostate Cancer More than 3,00,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year and over 40,000 will die from the disease this year. Improved diagnostic tests for prostate cancer such as Prostatic Specific Antigen (PSA) have lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and improved chances for treating it before it spreads. Improved surgical techniques include:
- Bladder neck sparing surgery – Which improves urinary control after surgery.
- Nerve sparing surgery – Which improves the changes of normal reactions after surgery.
- Perineal Prostatectomy – Which causes less post–operative pain, uses a hidden incision, and allows patients to go home 24 hours after surgery.
3–D conformal radiation also has fewer side effects and appears to be effective for many patients. Combined modality therapy is being actively studied. The combination of hormone manipulation with surgery or radiation therapy may increase the chances of cure for select patients. New minimally invasive forms of treatment for prostate cancer (cryotherapy, radiation seeds) are being investigated and may prove to be beneficial.
Key Statistics About Prostate Cancer Nearly one in every five men will be diagnosed with the disease at some time or the other in their lives. Prostate cancer is the second–leading cancer killer of men, behind lung cancer. The incidence of prostate cancer increases with age. More than 75 per cent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65. Some studies have shown an overall two to threefold increase in the risk of prostate cancer in men who have a history of this disease in their family.
The Function of the Prostate The prostate is a walnut–sized gland located just below the bladder. It surrounds part of the urethra, which is the canal that carries urine from the bladder during urination. The prostate’s main purpose is to produce fluid for semen, which transports sperm. During the male orgasm, muscular contractions squeeze the prostate’s fluid into the urethra. Sperm, which are produced in the testicles, are also propelled into the urethra during orgasm. The sperm–containing semen leaves the penis during ejaculation. As men get older, their prostate normally increases in size. Studies have shown that approximately 80 per cent of all men will eventually develop an enlarged prostate. If the prostate grows large enough, it may press on the urethra, and may make the urine flow weaker or slower. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). An increase in the size of the prostate and a change in urine flow do not necessarily mean you have cancer. In fact, you are probably more likely to have BPH, an infection, or another urological condition.
Disease Symptoms The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. We do know that prostate cancer is a group of cancerous cells (a tumor) that begins most often in the outer part of the prostate. Early stages of prostate cancer usually do not exhibit any symptoms. As the tumor grows, it may spread to the inner part of the prostate and eventually put pressure on surrounding parts of the body, such as the urethra. This may block the flow of urine from the bladder and cause other urinary problems, which are usually the first symptoms of prostate cancer.
If left untreated, prostate cancer can spread from the prostate to nearby lymph nodes, bones, or other organs. This spread is called metastasis. As a result of metastases, many men experience aches and pains in the bones, pelvis, hips, ribs, and the back.
Typical Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
- Frequent urination (especially at night).
- Weak urinary stream.
- Inability to urinate.
- Interruption of urinary stream (stopping and starting).
- Pain or burning on urination.
- Blood in the urine.
The symptoms of prostate cancer can be similar to those of a benign prostate condition. In fact, it is more likely that any of these symptoms would indicate a normal prostate enlargement, known as Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), an infection, or other conditions rather than prostate cancer. More than half of the men over age 60 have enlarged prostates.