The most common cancer in men, prostate cancer, affects one in every six American men. Fortunately, this cancer is usually slow-growing, and most tumors are found in time for effective treatment. Physicians at El Camino Hospital routinely perform procedures for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Be sure to discuss all questions thoroughly with your urologist since becoming more knowledgeable about prostate cancer is the first step in your treatment and recovery. Your urologist will help guide you through the information you need about prostate cancer in order to choose the treatment options suitable for you. All treatment options carry potential side effects. After considering your condition, circumstances and goals, treatment remains your choice. Please consult your urologist with any questions or concerns.
The prostate gland, approximately the size of a large walnut, is located above the base of the penis, in front of the rectum and below the bladder. Its purpose is to secrete components of the semen.
Although prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, if caught in the early stages, the cure rate is extremely high. As a result significant research has been performed to discover methods of early detection and to investigate innovative treatment options.
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Prostate Cancer Staging
Prostate cancers are staged in order to determine the extent of the disease.
Stage T1 is prostate cancer at its earliest stage. The cancer is confined to the prostate gland and the patient rarely experiences any symptoms of the disease.
Stage T2, cancer is still localized in the prostate gland and can be detected on rectal examination as a small to large firm nodule.
Stage T3, the cancer has spread outside the gland to surrounding tissues including the seminal vesicles.
Stage T4, the prostate cancer has spread outside the gland to other tissues and organs such as lymph nodes, bones, lungs, and liver.
A PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test is an important diagnostic tool for detecting a chemical which could signify the presence of prostate cancer. When the PSA is elevated or abnormally high, a patient typically undergoes a prostate biopsy under ultrasound to obtain a tissue diagnosis.
In men younger than 50 years of age a PSA more than 2.5 is considered elevated.
The tissue removed from the prostate during the biopsy is examined microscopically to establish the Gleason score. The Gleason score is a grading scale that helps the urologist determine the aggressiveness of the patient's cancer. The higher the score, the more malignant the cancer.