Prostate Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Prostate Cancer Prevention & Screening

Prostate cancer screening can detect cancer before symptoms start. If you have certain risk factors that make you more susceptible to prostate cancer, it's important to have regular prostate screening exams. Genetic testing can identity gene mutations that may increase your risk of prostate cancer if you have any family history of prostate cancer. 

How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed & Detected?

If a prostate screening exam indicates you may have prostate cancer or you have symptoms, further tests will be recommended. Mercy cancer specialists use several types of tests for diagnosing prostate cancer. Diagnostic imaging can help Mercy physicians determine the stage of prostate cancer as well as develop a prognosis and treatment plan.

Imaging Tests 

Imaging tests use a combination of X-rays and radioactive substances to create a picture of the inside of your body. Diagnostic imaging tests may be used to help your Mercy doctor look for prostate cancer, observe the prostate during certain procedures (such as a prostate biopsy) and determine if your cancer has already spread to other areas of the body.  Imaging tests used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer are:

Advanced Genomic Testing

Designed to help pinpoint any DNA alterations that may be contributing to the growth of a tumor, advanced genomic testing allows your Mercy doctor to identify treatments for specific mutations.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

Our team of cancer specialists has experience treating prostate cancer in all of its stages, including advanced and recurrent prostate cancer. When treatment is needed, the most effective prostate cancer treatment plan will depend on several factors including age, overall health, stage of your prostate cancer, whether or not cancer has spread as well as potential side effects of the treatment(s). Prostate cancer treatment options may include the following.

Prostate Cancer Surgery

If prostate cancer is only in the prostate gland and has not spread to other parts of the body, a radical prostatectomy may be recommended. Prostate cancer surgery often performed using minimally invasive robotic technology, 

Radical Prostatectomy

The most common procedure to remove the prostate is known as radical prostatectomy. In this procedure, your Mercy surgeon will remove your entire prostate along with surrounding tissue and your seminal vesicles. A surgeon will review common risks and side effects ahead of your surgery. These may potentially include erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. 

Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Mercy offers the most advanced therapies for prostate cancer. Our radiation oncologists offer several types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer treatment, including external beam radiation and internal radiation therapy.

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is the most common type of radiation therapy. A special x-ray machine is used to aim powerful radiation directly at tumors in your prostate. EBRT is most often used in earlier stages of pancreatic cancer as well as used to help relieve symptoms.

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) - High doses of radiation beams are usually delivered straight to the prostate in SBRT. It is a less common option for patients who have early-stage prostate cancer. SBRT uses a form of radiation therapy known as CyberKnife treatment.

Systemic Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Hormone Therapy

Also referred to as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or androgen suppression therapy (AST), hormone therapy is typically used as a treatment for localized prostate cancer. Hormone therapy may be recommended as a treatment option for prostate cancer if:

  • You’re not a candidate for surgery or radiation.
  • Your cancer remains or returns following prostate cancer surgery or radiation.
  • You’re considered to be at high risk of cancer returning.
  • You’re also receiving radiation therapy, aimed to shrink cancer.

Immunotherapy

Also known as biologic response modifier (BRM) therapy, biologic therapy or biotherapy, immunotherapy can be used to activate your immune system to battle cancer cells more effectively.

Chemotherapy

If you’re not responding to hormonal therapy or if your cancer has spread beyond the prostate, chemotherapy may be recommended. Chemo uses drugs delivered directly into your veins or given by mouth to reach and fight cancer cells throughout the body. 

Bone-Directed Therapy

Osteoclasts are cells responsible for breaking down the hard mineral of our bones, which keeps them healthy. If prostate cancer spreads to the bones, these cells can become overactive. Drugs known as bisphosphonates work to slow down osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates also help to relieve pain, slow cancer growth and strengthen bones in men who undergo hormone therapy.

Cryoablation

Also referred to as cryotherapy or cryosurgery, cryoablation is a minimally invasive surgical treatment used to freeze the prostate gland and destroy cancer cells. It’s sometimes used if a patient’s cancer has returned or as an alternative to the surgical removal of the prostate gland.

Cryotherapy typically requires epidural anesthesia (where the lower half of your body is numbed) or general anesthesia (where you’re asleep). Since cryoablation is minimally invasive, recovery times are usually quicker and hospital stays are shorter than with radiation therapy or surgery.

Active Surveillance

Active surveillance (AS) is also known as watchful waiting. This is an option for some men who are at low-risk or have slow-growing prostate cancer. Instead of starting immediate treatment, which may cause unwanted side effects, your Mercy doctor will closely monitor your prostate.

Active surveillance may include a PSA test and/or a DRE every three to six months. In addition, regularly scheduled imaging tests of the prostate and/or a yearly prostate biopsy may be recommended.

Prostate Cancer Resources

At Mercy, we’ll help you overcome your prostate cancer with resources, information and support in the safest and most efficient way possible, so you can quickly return to your regular day-to-day activities.
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