Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Prostate Cancer Treatment?
Our oncologists and urologists work together in order to evaluate patients with prostate cancer and advise a treatment plan that is most appropriate to the patient's health condition. Our urology surgeons are highly skilled in performing complex urological surgeries. Several treatment options - both conservative and surgical treatments are available. The option that best suits your individual needs will be considered.
The prostate is a gland belonging to the male reproductive system that lies just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer is a slowly developing disease in which abnormal cells start developing and multiplying in an uncontrollable manner in the tissues of the prostate. Prostate cancer occurs in about 1 in 5 men and is the second most common cancer after skin cancer in the US. It is the second leading cause of death because of cancer in men.
A vast majority of men with low-grade prostate cancer have no symptoms, cancer cells do not spread to other organs, and are not life-threatening. High-grade prostate cancer cells can spread rapidly and can prove fatal. In both cases, an appropriate treatment plan is important. Although prostate cancer often affects elderly men above 65 years of age, signs of frequent urination or weaker flow of urine in younger men should be evaluated through the tests that detect prostate cancer.
Surgical Procedures Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Prostate Cancer
Surgery is the treatment of choice to cure prostate cancer if it is confined to the gland. The major surgical technique used for prostate cancer is radical prostatectomy, in which your surgeon will remove the whole prostate gland along with some surrounding tissues including the seminal vesicles. There are two different approaches considered to perform radical prostatectomy:
Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy
In this technique, smaller incisions are made and long surgical instruments are used to excise and remove the prostate gland. In a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP), your surgeon will make several tiny incisions through which special long surgical tools are passed to remove the prostate gland. One of these tools is fitted with a tiny video camera, which allows your surgeon to visualize the internal organs in your abdomen.
The benefits of laparoscopic prostatectomy include:
Robot-assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy
This approach is also called robotic prostatectomy. In this procedure, a robotic interface or the da Vinci system is used to perform the surgery. Your surgeon sits at a surgical console and uses robotic arms to operate through the tiny incisions made in your abdomen. The robotic surgical system improves the precision and helps your surgeon to make accurate movements with the instruments. The robotic surgical approach has several advantages such as less pain and blood loss, and faster recovery.
Drugs and Other Treatment Needed for Prostate Cancer
Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are advised prior to surgery to shrink the tumor so that it becomes easier to remove during the surgery. This treatment is called neoadjuvant therapy. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy that is given after the surgery destroys the remaining cancer cells and reduces your risk of cancer recurrence. This treatment is called adjuvant therapy.
Radiation therapy »
ultrasound therapy »
Biologic therapy »
Stages of Prostate Cancer
The characteristic features of the four stages of prostate cancer are described below:
Stage IV »
Stage I »
Stage II »
Stage III »
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
The major symptoms of prostate cancer are frequent urge to urinate and an interrupted or weak flow of urine. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Trouble in starting to pass urine and emptying the bladder completely
- Sudden need to pass urine
- Burning sensation or pain while passing urine
- Presence of blood or seminal fluid in the urine
- Continuous pain in the back, pelvic or hip area
- Signs of anemia such as tiredness, dizziness, pale skin, breathing difficulty, and faster-paced heartbeats
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
Your doctor will detect prostate cancer by doing certain tests that examine the blood and the prostate gland. The tests advised to diagnose prostate cancer include:
- Physical examination: During the physical examination, your doctor will examine your body to check for signs of disease, such as lumps or any other abnormalities. You will be asked questions regarding your past illness and treatments undergone for those diseases.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE): Your doctor will examine your rectum by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum in order to feel your prostate for abnormalities such as lumps.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: This test is done to measure the amounts of PSA in the blood. PSA is produced by the prostate gland and is found in higher amounts in the blood of men with cancer of the prostate.
- Transrectal ultrasound: In this procedure, a finger-sized probe is passed into your rectum to examine the prostate gland. This probe directs high-energy sound waves towards the internal organs and tissues to produce echoes, which create detailed pictures of internal tissues.
- Transrectal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging test makes use of a strong magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce a series of detailed images of the internal organs. A special probe that emanates radio waves is passed into your rectum. This allows the MRI machine to create clear images of your prostate and nearby tissues so that any spread of the prostate cancer into the surrounding tissues can be detected.
- Biopsy: Biopsy is a procedure in which the suspected cells or tissues are removed so that microscopic examination can be done. The tissue sample is examined to check for the presence of cancerous cells. A transrectal biopsy is used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. It involves the removal of tissues by passing a thin needle into the prostate, which is guided by transrectal ultrasound.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Several risk factors have been found to affect a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The factors include:
- Age: There is an increased risk of developing prostate cancer after a man turns 50.
- Race/ethnicity: African-American men and Caribbean men of African origin are more likely to develop prostate cancer, but the reason for this racial predilection is unknown.
- Geography: Prostate cancer is more common in men living in the North America, Australia, northwest Europe, and the Caribbean islands.
- Family history: Prostate cancer tends to run in families, which indicates that an inherited or genetic factor is the cause in some cases. A man is twice more likely to develop prostate cancer if his father or brother has had prostate cancer.
- Genetic changes: Inherited changes of BRCA2 genes can increase the risk of prostate cancer. Lynch syndrome, which is a condition, caused by inherited genetic changes increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Diet: It has been suggested through some studies that men who consume large amounts of red meat and high-fat dairy products that are rich in calcium have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Obesity: A few studies have found that obesity increases the risk of advanced and more aggressive prostate cancer.
- Exposure to chemicals: Firefighters are often exposed to certain chemicals because of which they are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unclear, but there are some risk factors that influence the cells of the prostate gland to become cancerous. Basically, changes in the DNA of a prostate cell lead to the development of prostate cancer. The DNA changes or mutations that cause the activation of tumor suppressor genes (genes that cause cell death) and deactivation of oncogenes (genes that help the cell to grow and stay alive) can cause the uncontrollable growth of cancer cells. These changes in the DNA are either inherited or acquired during the lifetime of a person.
Your oncologist may advise certain alternative therapies during the course of your prostate cancer treatment. These alternative treatments include vitamins, herbal supplements, natural dietary changes, or therapies such as massage and acupuncture. Though one or more of these alternative treatment methods have been useful in providing symptomatic relief, most of the alternative therapies do not work for prostate cancer. Some of these may even prove dangerous. Therefore, always discuss the alternative treatment method with your healthcare team as they can explain the risks and benefits involved.
Prostate cancer may be prevented by increasing the protective factors and avoiding the risk factors. A risk factor is something that enhances your chance of getting cancer, and a cancer protective factor is anything that reduces your chance of developing cancer. Most risk factors cannot be avoided or modified, whereas certain risk factors are modifiable. Genetic factors cannot be controlled, but smoking and obesity are modifiable risk factors. Lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, quitting smoking and regular exercises are considered as protective factors.
The preventive actions that help in reducing your risk of developing prostate cancer include:
- Changing your eating habits and lifestyle: avoid foods that are known to cause cancer.
- Avoid getting exposed to substances that are known to cause cancer (carcinogenic substances)
- Take the medicines that have been prescribed to treat a precancerous condition or as a preventive medication to avoid cancer.
For any questions, information or guidance related to prostate cancer, consult our specialty-trained urologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital.