Prostate Cancer: Everything You Need to Know

The cure rate for prostate cancer is very high—if it’s detected and treated early. In fact, nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed and treated before the cancer has had a chance to spread will be disease-free after five years. However, prostate cancer is still a deadly disease and your risk increases with age. Men over the age of 50 should check with their doctor to determine how often they should get screened for prostate cancer.

What is the prostate gland?

The prostate is part of a man’s reproductive system and is about the size of a walnut. Located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder, the prostate gland is responsible for secreting fluid that nourishes and protects sperm during ejaculation. When it becomes too large, it squeezes the urethra, and slows or stops the flow of urine.

What is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test?

A PSA test involves a blood draw that is sent to a laboratory to analyze the level of PSA in a man’s blood. PSA levels are often elevated in men with prostate cancer, though there are various factors that can cause a man’s PSA level to fluctuate. Generally speaking, however, the higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is he has prostate cancer.

What are the stages of prostate cancer?

There are four stages of prostate cancer. These include:

  • Stage I – The cancer is only in the prostate.
  • Stage II – The tumor is more advanced than Stage I, but has not advanced beyond the prostate.
  • Stage III – The tumor extends beyond the prostate but has not reached the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV – The tumor may have spread to the bladder, rectum or other nearby organs. It may have also spread to the lymph nodes, bones or other parts of the body.

What are the treatment options for prostate cancer?

At any stage of disease, care is available to control pain and discomfort, treat side effects from treatment and ease emotional concerns. Here are the most common treatment options for men diagnosed with prostate cancer:

  • Active surveillance ­– Forego treatment until test results show that your prostate cancer is growing or changing.
  • Surgery – Removal of the prostate gland and nearby lymph nodes for men in early-stage cancer.
  • Radiation therapy – Targeted therapy used to destroy cancer cells using high-energy rays.
  • Hormone therapy – Used to protect male hormones (e.g., androgens and testosterone) from prostate cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy – Therapy used for men with advanced prostate cancer using anti-cancer chemical substances.
  • Immunotherapy – Used to stimulate the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

What is the typical follow-up care regimen after treatment for prostate cancer?

After you’ve been treated for prostate cancer, you’ll need regular check-ups to ensure any changes in your health are monitored and treated, if necessary. Because each person and each cancer is unique, it is important to follow-up with your doctor to determine the best follow-up care schedule for you.

Our cancer specialists are committed to providing the best possible prostate cancer treatment in Illinois. Call Alpha Med at 708-342-1900 to schedule an appointment. Our doctors have extensive experience treating prostate cancer with state-of-the-art capabilities and compassionate care tailored to each person’s unique needs.