Prostate Cancer FAQs

Prostate Cancer Questions & Answers

Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind colorectal & lung cancer. Mercy provides a full range of services to diagnose, treat & prevent prostate cancer. Learn the answers to some frequently asked questions about prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy alone can’t kill prostate cancer cells entirely. The goal of hormone therapy is to reduce the level of male hormones, also known as androgens, and prevent them from fueling prostate cancer cells. Usually, if your Mercy doctor recommends hormone treatment for prostate cancer, it’s to slow cancer that’s spreading or has come back. It can also be paired with radiation therapy.  

According to the American Cancer Society, it’s not possible to accurately predict how likely prostate cancer is to return. However, if your prostate cancer is more advanced, fast-growing or has already spread to distant parts of the body, it may be more likely to come back. Talk to your Mercy doctor so you’re prepared for a potential recurrence. 

Men should only decide when to get screened once they have discussed all relevant facts and information with their Mercy doctor. The frequency of your prostate cancer screening will depend on several factors, including your current age, overall health and family history. 

In the majority of cases, prostate cancer is slow-growing and often takes years to even detect. In these cases, it’s common that your Mercy doctor will take a wait-and-watch approach to determine your treatment plan. However, a small percentage of cases of prostate cancer can become more aggressive and require more urgent treatment. 

Prostate cancer won’t cause infertility. However, some types of cancer treatment can make men infertile. If the prostate and seminal vesicles must be removed to prevent the further spread of cancer, a man will no longer be able to produce the semen needed to fertilize an egg. Radiation can also damage the prostate’s ability to make semen. If you’re concerned about fertility options, talk to your Mercy doctor before scheduling your surgery.  

There are two main types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer: external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy. In most cases, EBRT will be given to patients in several sessions over the course of a few weeks. Brachytherapy can be done in a much shorter time frame, sometimes delivered over the span of just a couple of days. 

There are a handful of early warning signs that your body may have developed prostate cancer. Some common signs may include: 

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloody urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • General pain in your pelvic area

Talk to your Mercy doctor immediately if you experience one or more of these symptoms. 

Prostate Cancer Resources

We know fighting cancer can feel overwhelming. At Mercy, you’ll find all the expert care and emotional support you’ll need to face your fears and your cancer.