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About Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the prostate.

Signs & Symptoms

These are signs of prostate cancer:

  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Shortness of breath, feeling very tired, fast heartbeat, dizziness, or pale skin caused by anemia
  • A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn't go away
  • Sudden or frequent urination (especially at night)
  • Trouble starting, weak or interrupted (“stop-and-go”) flow of urine
  • Trouble emptying the bladder completely
  • Pain or burning while urinating

Many other health problems can also cause these signs. If you have any of these signs, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Learn more about prostate cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

Image of the Male Reproductive System

Anatomy of the male reproductive and urinary systems, showing the prostate, testicles, bladder, and other organs.
Anatomy of the male reproductive and urinary systems, showing the prostate, testicles, bladder, and other organs.

Specialties & Treatments

The treatment or combination of treatments each patient has depends on the stage of the cancer, recommendations of the care team, and the patient’s wishes. These are the most common types of treatment:

  • Watchful waiting or active surveillance
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Biologic therapy
  • Bisphosphonate
  • Focal therapy
  • Transperineal biopsies

Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Urologic Cancers Program provides comprehensive, compassionate, state-of-the-art care for people with prostate cancer. Our experts treat and diagnose all types of urologic cancers and conditions.

Learn more about types of cancer treatments and prostate cancer surgery choices from the National Cancer Institute.

Find a Prostate Cancer Doctor

Causes & Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean you are sure to get cancer. It means your chances are higher than the average person’s. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your cancer risk.

The chance of getting prostate cancer increases with age.

Learn more about ways to prevent cancer and about cancer screenings.

Diagnosis & Stages

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Doctors use these tests to diagnose prostate cancer:

  • Physical exam and history: A health care provider examines your body for signs of disease. Your personal health habits, past illnesses, and symptoms help guide the exam.
  • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A health care provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall, checking for lumps or abnormal areas.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: This test measures the level of PSA, a substance made by the prostate, in the blood.
  • Transrectal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This test uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make detailed images of the prostate.
  • Biopsy: The health care provider removes cell or tissue samples so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.
  • Transrectal ultrasound: This procedure uses high-energy sound waves to create a picture of prostate tissue. The health care provider gently inserts a lubricated probe into the rectum.

Stages of Prostate Cancer

Cancer stages show whether cancer has spread within or around the prostate or to other parts of the body. Cancer spreads in the body in three ways: through tissue, the lymph system, or the blood.

These are the stages used for prostate cancer:

  • Stage 1: Cancer is found in the prostate only and cannot be felt by a digital rectal exam or seen through imaging tests.
  • Stage 2 (2A & 2B): Cancer has not spread outside the prostate but is found in one-half of one lobe of the prostate, or in opposite sides of the prostate.
  • Stage 3: Cancer has spread beyond the outer layer of the prostate.
  • Stage 4: Cancer has spread beyond the seminal vesicles or to distant parts of the body.

When cancer spreads from where it started to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. These metastatic cancer cells are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are actually prostate cancer cells. The disease is metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer.

Learn more about the stages of prostate cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

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