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.
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.
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.
The characteristic features of the four stages of prostate cancer are described below:
The major symptoms of prostate cancer are frequent urge to urinate and an interrupted or weak flow of urine. Other signs and symptoms include:
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:
Several risk factors have been found to affect a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The factors include:
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:
For any questions, information or guidance related to prostate cancer, consult our specialty-trained urologists at Marina Del Rey Hospital.