Personalized care is top of mind when treating prostate cancer.

The multi-disciplinary team in the Urologic Oncology Program includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, researchers and more to properly diagnose and treat your prostate cancer. We are home to a world-renowned urologist who is an expert in minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic-assisted cancer surgery.

We continue studying the prostate in order to better diagnose and treat prostate cancer, and perhaps prevent it altogether. Timothy G. Wilson, M.D., professor and chair of Urology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s, leads the charge in research studies.

Timothy G. Wilson, M.D. performs laparoscopic surgery on a prostate cancer patient
Overview

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate (a small walnut-shaped gland). It is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), but it can often be treated successfully.

Growths in the prostate can be benign or malignant tumors:

  • Benign tumors: Are not cancerous, and usually they are not a threat to life. They don’t invade the tissue around them and once they are treated or removed, they usually don’t grow back.
  • Malignant tumors: Are cancerous growths. Although they usually can be removed, they can also grow back.

There are several types of cells in the prostate, but almost all prostate cancers develop from gland cells. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma. Prostate cancer cells can spread through the lymph nodes and blood vessels to other parts of the body. When this happens, the cancer has metastasized and new tumors may form in those parts of the body.

Signs & Symptoms

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

  • Trouble urinating, or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Trouble getting an erection

What Causes Prostate Cancer?


“No one knows exactly what causes prostate cancer, but we know its increased incidence comes with age.”

Is Prostate Cancer Deadly?


“Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer in the United States secondary to skin cancer, but it’s also the second leading cause of cancer death.”

Does Prostate Cancer Strike a Certain Demographic?


“Prostate cancer is most common in European and Western Societies.”

What Are Prostate Cancer Symptoms?


“Most men with prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms at all and they are asymptomatic”

What Is Significant About Prostate Cancer Screenings?


“Using a blood test called PSA and physical examination by a doctor, we are able to find cancer at its earliest stage and have the highest possible chance of curing it.”

For Slow Growing Prostate Cancer, What Approach Is Taken For Treatment?


“Many men today when they’re diagnosed with prostate cancer are found to have a very slow growing early stage cancer that does not require aggressive treatment.”

What Are The Benefits of Robotic Assisted Surgery For Prostate Cancer?


“Today the best kind of surgery that’s available for men is referred to robotic assisted radical prostatectomy.” This is a technology that was developed and approved by the FDA in the U.S. for prostate cancer surgery in 2001. Allows us to do a more precise, consistent, reliable and reproducible surgery, so as to give us the best change of removing all of the cancer and yet still allow men to return to their normal lifestyles as quickly as possible.”

What Are Common Myths or Concerns You Hear From Your Patients?


“The most common myths we hear about prostate cancer have to do primarily with screening. Men have the impression that they don’t have to be screened because prostate cancer is not a serious cancer. The important message is that prostate cancer is a serious cancer as we know it is the most common cancer for men in the United States.”

Is It True That Grilled Meats Are Linked In Prostate Cancer?


“Diets high in saturated fats and diets that are not heart healthy probably lead to the development of cancer.”

How Often Should I Get Screened If There Is No Family History?


“Men should be screened so we can find the cancer earlier, so it’s more effectively cured or managed.”

What Advances In Prostate Cancer Treatment or Prevention Do You See In The Future?


“There are new treatments available which are referred to targeted therapy.”

Risk Factors

What Are the Cause and Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?

Doctors don’t completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, but they have identified several risk factors:

  • Age: Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40. The risk rises after age 50, and about 60 percent of cases occur in men over 65.
  • Race and ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. White men are at greater risk of prostate cancer than Asian-American and Hispanic men.
  • Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families. Having a brother or father with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease.
  • Diet: Men with diets high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables have a higher risk of prostate cancer.
Diagnosis

How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

In order to reach a diagnosis for prostate cancer, we take a thorough medical history and conduct a physical examination to be as accurate as possible. We’ll ask questions, make note of any symptoms you may have experienced and include any other pertinent information.

The following tests may be used to diagnose prostate cancer or to find out if it has spread:

  • Digital rectal exam: Your urologic oncologist will determine if there are any bumps or hard areas on the prostate that might be cancer.
  • PSA blood test: The prostate-specific antigen blood test is one of the first tests done in men who have symptoms of prostate cancer. Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. If the PSA is above 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is more than 50 percent.
  • Biopsy: Your urologic oncologist inserts a thin needle to remove a sample of tissue from the prostate. A pathologist examines the tissue. If a tumor is found, the pathologist grades the cancer cells and gives them a Gleason score. These scores range from 2 to 10. A tumor with higher grade tends to grow faster and is more likely to spread.

Targeted MRI/Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy

We offer a powerful MR solution for analysis, planning and targeted biopsy of the prostate. This complete clinical MR solution for the prostate consists of DynaCAD for Prostate and the UroNav fusion biopsy system – a comprehensive solution that offers a cutting edge imaging option for many patients with elevated and/or rising PSA levels.

Targeted MR/ultrasound biopsy is poised to become the new standard in prostate care. UroNav fuses pre-biopsy MR images of the prostate with ultrasound-guided biopsy images in real time, for excellent delineation of the prostate and suspicious lesions.

The fusion of the MR and ultrasound images uses electromagnetic tracking, similar to your car’s GPS system; a tiny tracking sensor attached to the trans-rectal ultrasound probe generates a small, localized electromagnetic field that helps determine the location and orientation of the biopsy device. A sophisticated algorithm maintains the fusion of MR and ultrasound images, even when the patient moves.

Stages

Stages of Prostate Cancer

Your urologic oncologist may order these tests to help determine the stage of your prostate cancer:

  • Bone scan: This test can help determine if cancer has spread from the prostate to the bones.
  • CT scan: An X-ray machine linked to a computer can show whether prostate cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
  • MRI: A machine with a magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures that can show whether prostate cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other areas.

Prostate Cancer Stages:

  • Stage 1: The cancer is only in the prostate.
  • Stage 2: The tumor hasn’t spread beyond the prostate, but it is more advanced than Stage 1.
  • Stage 3: The tumor has spread beyond the prostate, but it hasn’t reached the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: The cancer may have spread to the bladder, rectum, lymph nodes, bones or other parts of the body.

When to see a provider:

Contact your doctor if you experience symptoms of prostate cancer, even if they are mild.
Symptoms include: Trouble urinating or the need to urinate more often, blood in urine, trouble getting an erection.