Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer in men, right behind skin cancer. For diagnosis and treatment, trust board-certified urologists, Armen Dikranian, MD, Ramin Khalili, MD, and their expert team at Huntington Urology Specialists in Pasadena, California. We strongly believe in individualized treatments to achieve maximum survival with optimal quality of life. Call the office or book a consultation online to learn more about prostate cancer and its implications long-term.

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What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a walnut-sized organ that sits below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. It’s responsible for making some of the fluid that’s in semen.

When cancer cells in your prostate grow out of control and spread to other areas of your body, it can be fatal. While the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, it does have a strong genetic link and most often occurs in men older than 50. Men of any age can get prostate cancer, however.

Cancers of the prostate are typically adenocarcinomas, meaning they develop from the gland cells that make the prostate fluid.

In rare cases, prostate cancer cases may also be classified as sarcomas, neuroendocrine tumors, and transitional cell carcinomas.

Prostate cancer usually grows slowly, but some types do grow and spread quickly, so it’s essential to get early treatment.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer usually has no symptoms in its early stages. Sometimes, though, you might experience:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Frequent need to urinate, especially at night
  • Painful urination and sometimes painful ejaculation
  • Difficulty starting a urine stream and maintaining it
  • Challenges achieving or maintaining an erection

If you notice symptoms of prostate cancer, it’s imperative to schedule an appointment at Huntington Urology Specialists for an expert opinion.

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

When a routine blood test, called a PSA test, reveals abnormally high levels of prostate-specific antigen, your physician may recommend more tests to check the state of your prostate. These tests may include:

  • A physical exam of the prostate by placing a finger in the rectum
  • Blood tests to look for specific chemicals unique to people with cancer
  • A test for the PCA3 gene in your urine
  • Transrectal ultrasound

If these tests come back positive, your provider may perform a biopsy of the prostate to check for cancer cells.

How is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Prostate cancer may not warrant immediate treatment. Instead, active surveillance may be recommended to monitor the tumor at regular intervals and ensure that it is not progressing. This option is dependent on several factors including the patient’s age, family history and tumor characteristics. Genomic testing of the tumor cells may be performed to help guide the decision-making process.

Once indicated, prostate cancer is usually treated with a robotic, “nerve-sparing” radical prostatectomy. This allows removal of the cancer with the intent to cure. The robotic approach minimizes damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and reduces the impact on the patient’s quality of life after surgery.

Another treatment option is radiation. This option may be advisable based on the patient’s age and tumor characteristics. In these cases, the patient will be referred to a radiation oncologist. The experts at Huntington Urology Specialist offer SpaceOar which is a biodegradable gel that is injected under the prostate to prevent the radiation from injuring surrounding organs like the rectum.

What is the prognosis if I’m diagnosed with prostate cancer?

If you’re diagnosed before the cancer has spread to other organs, you have a 99% chance of surviving at least five years and a 96% chance of surviving 15 years. If the cancer has spread, your five-year survival rate drops to 29%.

For more information about screenings for prostate cancer and potential treatments, contact Huntington Urology Specialists by phone or book an appointment online today.