Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in the United States with only skin cancer diagnosed more often. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths (after lung cancer). In 2014, approximately 233,000 men in the US will be diagnosed with the disease and 29,480 are projected to die from the disease this year according to the American Cancer Society. As a man gets older his chances of developing prostate cancer increases, with more than 75 percent of tumors being found in men over age 65. A family history of prostate cancer may increase the chances of developing the disease, particularly if his brother, father, or paternal uncle was diagnosed with prostate cancer. For a man who is now 50 years old, his probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is about 10 percent. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 35 will die of the disease.
Fortunately, prostate cancer is usually curable when detected early. This underscores the need for early detection. The Doctors at Norman Urology like the American Urological Association recommend men discuss prostate screening with their doctors. While there has been some debate in the media and government agencies about the need for prostate cancer screening, we believe every man should be able to make an informed decision with all the information available about his health.
While some men seek medical attention because they are experiencing symptoms that might indicate prostate cancer (such as frequent urination or an inability to urinate, trouble starting or holding back urine flows, or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs), most men experience no symptoms. Hence, for many men, an abnormal finding during a routine screening examination is the first indication that they might have prostate cancer. A recent update on PSA screening was published by the American Urological Association suggesting a man without any symptoms or family history should get his first PSA at the age of 55 years. However, men with a family history or experiencing symptoms should consider screening starting at age 40. An abnormal prostate exam or an elevated PSA level are both possible indicators of the disease.
Norman Urology offers the most advanced methods for the detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer. For those with an elevated PSA or an abnormal digital rectal exam our physicians may recommend a prostate biopsy done under ultrasound guidance. Using newer techniques of local anesthesia, our physicians make the procedure as comfortable as possible. We also offer the option of a prostate biopsy with generalized anesthesia for those men who prefer to be sedated during their biopsy.
Most men are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer (the disease is confined to the prostate). Our physicians will carefully discuss all treatment options including surgery, radiation therapy, and active surveillance (careful observation without further immediate treatment) in terms patients can understand. In the past, surgery and radiation therapy have posed risks of side effects such as urinary incontinence, sexual potency problems, and rectal problems. Fortunately, the experience of our surgeons as well as our radiation oncologists helps to minimize these side effects without compromising cancer control. We offer the latest techniques in radiation including intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and brachytherapy (radioactive seed implantation into the prostate) which are aimed at providing cancer control while minimizing the side effects.