The Cancer Institute at Good Samaritan - Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer forms in the tissues of the prostate. Except for skin cancer, cancer of the prostate is the most common malignancy among American men. In most men with prostate cancer, the disease grows very slowly. The majority of men with low-grade, early prostate cancer, in which cancer cells have been found only in the prostate, live a long time after their diagnosis. More than 70 percent of men diagnosed with this disease are over the age of 65. African American men have a substantially higher risk of prostate cancer than Caucasian men and Hispanic men. Genetic factors also appear to play a role, particularly for families in which the diagnosis is made in men under age 60. The risk of prostate cancer rises with the number of close relatives who have the disease.
Signs & Symptoms
Prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms for many years but when symptoms do occur, they may include urinary problems such as:
- Not being able to urinate
- Having a hard time starting or stopping the urine flow
- Needing to urinate often, especially at night
- Weak flow of urine
- Urine flow that starts and stops
- Pain or burning during urination
Other symptoms may include:
- Difficulty having an erection
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
These can be symptoms of cancer, but more often they are symptoms of non-cancerous conditions. It is important to check with a physician or the Good Samaritan cancer team.
Two tests can be used to detect prostate cancer in the absence of any symptoms. One is the digital rectal exam (DRE) in which a doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to find hard or lumpy areas. The other is a blood test used to detect a substance made by the prostate called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Together, these tests can detect many prostate cancers that have not caused symptoms. Due to the widespread use of PSA testing in the United States, approximately 90% of all prostate cancers are currently diagnosed at an early stage, enabling men to survive longer after diagnosis.
The diagnosis of prostate cancer can be confirmed only by a biopsy. During a biopsy, a Good Samaritan urologist removes tissue samples, usually with a needle. This is generally done in the doctor’s office with local anesthesia. Then a skilled hospital pathologist checks for cancer cells.
Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center offer the latest form of minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci robotic system.
Robotic radical prostatectomy has significant advantages over traditional open surgery:
• Performed through five tiny incisions in the abdomen.
• Significantly less blood loss, post operative pain and length of stay in the hospital with most patients going home in 1-2 days.
• Patient are able to recover and return to normal activity much sooner.
The extreme precision of robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform nerve sparing, which results in greater potency after surgery. This precision is also translated to the anastomosis (attaching the bladder to the urethra) – resulting in reduced time with a foley catheter (seven days total) and quicker time to total continence.
Choosing a treatment option involves the patient, his family, and one or more doctors. They will need to consider the grade and stage of the cancer, the man’s age and health, and his values and feelings about the potential benefits and risks of each treatment option. Often it is useful to seek additional opinions from physicians on the cancer team such as a urologist, radiation oncologist, internist, family practitioner or a medical oncologist. Because there are several reasonable options, patients may hear different opinions and recommendations, making the decision difficult. However, it is important to get as much information as possible and allow enough time to make an informed decision.