Prostate Cancer

Posted September 15, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland that’s part of a man’s reproductive system. Prostate cancer is very common, affecting one out of every nine men.

Causes of Prostate Cancer

Experts aren’t sure why some cells in the prostate gland become cancerous (malignant). Genetics appear to play a role. For example:

  • You’re two to three times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father, brother or son has the disease.

  • Inherited mutated (changed) breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) and other gene mutations contribute to a small number of prostate cancers.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

  • Frequent, sometimes urgent, need to urinate, especially at night.

  • Weak urine flow or flow that starts and stops.

  • Painful urination (dysuria).

  • Fecal (bowel) incontinence.

  • Painful ejaculation and erectile dysfunction (ED).

  • Blood in semen (hematospermia) or urine.

  • Lower back pain, hip pain and chest pain.

  • Leg or feet numbness.

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Digital rectal exam

Your provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate gland, which sits in front of the rectum. Bumps or hard areas could indicate cancer.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test

The prostate gland makes a protein called protein-specific antigen (PSA). Elevated PSA levels may indicate cancer. Levels also rise if you have BPH or prostatitis.


A needle biopsy to sample tissue for cancer cells is the only sure way to diagnose prostate cancer. During an MRI-guided prostate biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology provides detailed images of the prostate.

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Active surveillance

  • With this approach, you get screenings, scans and biopsies every one to three years to monitor cancer growth.

  • Active surveillance works best if the cancer is only in the prostate, slow-growing and not causing symptoms.

Watchful Waiting

  • Watchful waiting sounds similar to active surveillance, but is often used in older or frailer patients.

  • Similar to active surveillance, this approach does not involve definitive treatment at diagnosis.

  • However, the testing is much less frequent, and focuses on symptom management.


A form of internal radiation therapy, brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds within the prostate. This approach helps preserve surrounding healthy tissue.

External beam radiation therapy

With external beam radiation therapy, a machine delivers strong X-ray beams directly to the tumor. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy is a form of external radiation therapy that delivers powerful doses of radiation to the disease site.

Systemic therapies

Your provider may recommend systemic therapies if cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland. These therapies include chemotherapy, androgen deprivation hormone therapy and immunotherapy.

Focal therapy

  • Focal therapy is a newer form of treatment focusing on treating only the area of the prostate affected by cancer.

  • You may be able to try this treatment if cancer hasn’t spread.

  • Focal therapy options include high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), cryotherapy, laser ablation and photodynamic therapy.


  • This surgical procedure removes the diseased prostate gland.

  • Surgeons can perform laparoscopic prostatectomy and robotic radical prostatectomy through small abdominal incisions.

  • These procedures are less invasive than an open radical prostatectomy, which requires a larger abdominal incision, although both are effective in cancer removal.

diseases disorders cancers prostate-cancer

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