Prostate Cancer FAQs
Fighting Prostate Cancer The Second Leading Cause of Death in Men
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test uses a blood sample to measure and monitor the level of PSA being produced by the prostate. It is very important to understand that the PSA test is not a prostate cancer test. When PSA levels are monitored over a period of years, prostate cancer experts like Dr. Razdan can detect spikes or elevations in a man’s PSA levels.
Your PSA Velocity is the rate at which your PSA levels are changing over a certain period of time. PSA mapping by a expert in prostate cancer is the most accurate way to determine if PSA elevations are cause for concern. For example, A PSA level of 4.0ng/ml is considered to be normal, however changes of greater than 2.0ng/ml per year is an indication of the potential presence of prostate cancer, an infection, or prostate enlargement
The American Urological Association recommends that most men only need a PSA test every 2 years. Men between the ages of 55 and 69 years should weigh the pros and cons of PSA testing before making their own decision about a testing schedule.
Based on Dr. Razdan’s world-renowned experience with prostate cancer, he strongly encourages men to commit to at least one PSA screening every year and to get a baseline test at the age of 40.
Dr. Razdan believes all men over 40 should have a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and digital rectal exam as part of their annual physical. For those men with prostate cancer risk factors such as a family history of the disease or African American men – screening should begin even earlier. Through monitoring PSA levels, men who are at risk for developing of the disease can be closely and easily monitored.
If an elevated PSA level is detected, a biopsy of the prostate can be performed to confirm the presence of cancer.
For men who have not yet started to screen their PSA levels, but are experiencing difficulties urination, a constant sensation to urinate, the feeling that you can’t fully empty your bladder, or blood in your urine: please see your Urologist immediately. These could be signs of BPH or prostate cancer.
There are different types of Screening tests that usually fall into into two categories: screening for prostate cancer and screening to help determine the stage of the disease. These tests are:
1. Digital rectal exam (DRE). This is an exam by a doctor who inserts a sterile and protected lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate gland. During this examination the doctor will look for abnormalities in shape, size or texture.
2. Transrectal ultrasound. An Ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum which emits sound waves to produce a live image of the prostate gland.
3. Prostate biopsy. Under ultrasound guidance, the urologist will remove up to 12 cores (small pieces of prostate tissue) for evaluation. These samples of tissue provide a prostate cancer diagnosis and the grades the stage of the cancer, better known as the Combined Gleason Score or CGS. The prostate biopsy and the CGS are important in diagnosing and choosing the appropriate treatment option.
Prostate cancer refers to abnormal cells in the prostate gland, which is part of the male reproductive system. The prostate is situated just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. A normal prostate is about the size of a walnut.
Who is at risk for prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer can affect men of any age but it is most common in men over the age of 50. Eight out of 10 men who suffer prostate cancer are over the age of 65. African-American men are at higher risk as well as men with a family history of the disease. Men who eat a high-fat diet or who are obese also may have increased chances of getting prostate cancer. The strongest association is genetic. If your father, uncle or brother had prostate cancer you have a much higher risk of developing the disease and should probably start screening at age 40 or even earlier.
While researchers continue to study the effect of diet and other lifestyle factors on a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, there are some changes that may be associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Men are encouraged to eat a diet low in fat, especially animal fat, and include more fruits and vegetables. According to the National Cancer Institute, studies show that a diet high in dairy products and calcium may also be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, although the increase may be small.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
In most cases, early stage prostate cancer does not produce any symptoms, but they may begin to appear as the cancer grows. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Less force to the stream of urine
- Frequent urination, especially during the night
- Pain while urinating
- Blood or pus in the urine
- Pain in hip, lower back or lower part of the pelvis
- Unintended weight loss and/or loss of appetite
Prostate cancer can be treated successfully if it is caught early, before it spreads to other parts of the body. Surgery, Radiation therapy, Cryoablation and Hormonal treatment are all reasonable options in the appropriate clinical setting. One new treatment option for patients is the development of a revolutionary new form of prostate surgery, the robotic prostatectomy, which allows the surgeon to perform minimally invasive procedures, such as removal of the prostate, in hard-to-reach areas with more precision. Because this technology is less invasive than other surgical options, patients experience minimal pain, minimal blood loss and a faster recovery. Patients undergoing this procedure can expect an excellent chance of cure with return to normal activities within days.
At the International Robotic Prostatectomy Institute, world renowned Robotic Surgeon Dr. Sanjay Razdan and his highly experienced and skilled team of assistants are now even offering outpatient robotic surgery for prostate cancer. Fortunately, in the majority of cases, patients are not troubled with incontinence or impotence. Dr. Razdan recently developed his own technique of “Athermal combined antegrade and retrograde nerve preservation” which has resulted in vastly superior outcomes with respect to erectile function. After surgery, our Penile Rehabilitation Program is uniquely suited to working individually with each patient in a compassionate manner to ensure the excellent results this center has come to be recognized for.
The International Robotic Prostatectomy Institute is a top resource for state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and treatment for prostate and other urologic problems. The Center is staffed by internationally recognized physicians who are experts in these types of diseases. Dr. Razdan’s Cancer Support Line which has hundreds of patients enrolled is another valuable resource for patients seeking insight into prostate cancer treatment and what to expect after surgery.