The Curable Cancer
More than 234,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. The good news is most of these men will not die of the disease.
“If treated early, prostate cancer is curable,” comments Conrad Maitland, M.D., chief of urology at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. “And if treated early, side effects can be minimized.”
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer include:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
Am I At Risk?
Unfortunately, three of the main risk factors for prostate cancer are out of your control.
- Age: The older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Family History: Men with one first-degree relative - father, brother or son - with a history of prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease. Those with two or more relatives are nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed. The risk is even higher if the affected family members were diagnosed before age 60.
- Race: African-American men are 61 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men.
- Diet: Recent research has shown that diet modification might decrease the chances of developing prostate cancer, reduce the likelihood of having a prostate cancer recur or help slow the progression of the disease.
How is Prostate Cancer Detected?
Screening for prostate cancer can be performed quickly and easily in a physician’s office using two tests:
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test: A small amount of blood is drawn from the arm and the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, is checked. When there’s a problem with the prostate, such as when prostate cancer develops and grows, more and more PSA is released, until it reaches a level where it can be easily detected in the blood.
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A physician inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and examines the prostate for any irregularities in size, shape and texture.
If prostate cancer is detected early through these screening techniques, some men won’t have any symptoms.
Should I Be Screened?
Dr. Maitland recommends that both the PSA and DRE should be given annually, beginning at age 50. Men at high risk, such as African-American men and men with a strong family history, should begin annual testing at age 40.
What Are the Treatments?
"New nerve-sparing surgery helps reduce the risk of side effects, such as erectile dysfunction," says Dr. Maitland. Depending on the patient, treatment may also include standard radiation, seed implant radiation treatment or hormone treatments.
Prostate cancer can be treated surgically, as well as with radiation and chemotherapy.
The hospital’s Radiation Oncology Center offers two forms of treatment:
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): A technologically advanced external beam radiation therapy that assures surrounding structures and normal tissue, such as the bladder and rectum, are not damaged while delivering the optimal dose of radiation to the prostate.
- Brachytherapy: A surgical procedure in which radioactive “seeds” are implanted into the prostate gland. The seeds give off radiation only to a small area, minimizing exposure to surrounding tissue.
Screening, diagnosis and coordinated care for prostate cancer and other urological conditions are performed by the DMC Urology physician practice located in the DMC Sinai-Grace Professional Office Building. To schedule an appointment, call 313-966-1962.
For more information about DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital’s cancer services or a referral to a Sinai-Grace oncologist, call 313-966-4800.