The latest medical advances in prostate cancer care
The longer men live, the greater the likelihood that their prostate will enlarge and the greater the risk for prostate cancer. Not all enlarged prostates or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) lead to cancer. It is, however, possible for men to have both BPH and cancer.
There are no early symptoms for prostate cancer, so it is very important to have regular prostate cancer screening tests. When caught early, prostate cancer may never become life-threatening. In fact, while one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, only one man in 36 will die from the disease.
While there is no sure-fire way to prevent prostate cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better your chances are of living a long and healthy life after prostate cancer.
Diagnosing prostate problems
Current screening for prostate cancer includes a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). Your personal physician can perform these tests during your annual check-up. The latest guidelines for prostate cancer screening recommend having a conversation with your physician to decide when it's best to start screening and how often. This conversation should take place around the age of 50 for most men. If you are at high risk, screening could be begin as early as 40. Other tests for prostate enlargement could include:
- Transrectal ultrasound
- Urine flow study
- Intravenous pyelogram
Symptoms of BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, include:
- A hesitant, interrupted, weak urinary stream.
- Urgency, leaking or dribbling.
- More frequent urination, especially at night
Prostate cancer symptoms
Prostate cancer is often diagnosed before symptoms occur. Symptoms of prostate cancer include the following. These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions. Talk to your physician about new or bothersome symptoms.
- Frequent urination, especially at night.
- Inability to urinate.
- Trouble starting or holding back the flow of urine.
- Pain or burning when urinating.
- Blood in urine or semen.
- Inability to have and maintain an erection.
- Frequent pain in lower back, hips or upper thighs.
Prostate cancer second opinion program
After the initial shock has worn off, the first thought crossing the mind of many diagnosed with prostate cancer is "What now?" Northwest Community Hospital offers a prostate cancer second opinion program that gives men diagnosed with prostate cancer an opportunity to explore the many prostate cancer treatment options available.
Through the second opinion program, our experienced prostate cancer team helps men weigh the pros and cons of the latest prostate cancer treatment options. The main goal of NCH's second opinion program is to ensure that prostate cancer patients get what they need, when they need it.
The prostate cancer second opinion experience:
- Confirm prostate cancer diagnosis and learn about prostate cancer treatment options.
- Appointments scheduled with urologist and radiation oncologist to discuss your prostate cancer treatment.
- Review of medical records, history and physical by the physician.
- Review of risks and benefits of each prostate cancer treatment option.
- Possible further testing, if necessary.
- Most insurance does cover second opinions; check with your insurance provider.
To request a second opinion, call our prostate patient navigator at 847-618-6572, who will work to ensure your appointment is scheduled within a timely manner of your initial request.
Regular screenings are key in finding prostate cancer early
Your doctor will use two methods. Men should have a conversation with their physician about screening starting at age 50—those at higher risk should begin at age 40.
- Feeling for an unusual lump by means of a digital rectal exam (DRE)
- Testing your blood for prostate specific antigen (PSA)
Are you at risk for prostate cancer?
Age—The longer men live, the greater their chances of developing prostate cancer. Up to 60% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men aged 65 and older. (ACS Facts and Figures 2014)
Family history — Genetic studies suggest that strong family predisposition might be responsible for 5-10% of prostate cancers. If you have first-degree relatives who have been diagnosed with prostate or breast cancer, especially at a younger age, your risk may be higher.
Race — Prostate cancer occurs about 60% more often in African American men and Caribbean men of African descent than in Caucasian or Northern European men.
Physical activity — Staying physically active and keeping a healthy weight may reduce your risk of developing signs of prostate cancer.
Diet — Some studies suggest that a diet high in processed meat or dairy foods may be a risk factor, obesity appears to increase the risk of more aggressive prostate cancer.