Prostate Cancer: Treatment v. Wait-and-See

August 08, 2012

One in six American men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime. Thanks to early detection and proper treatment, most of those men will not suffer from this disease.

A man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer needs to work closely with his physician to understand precisely his condition and to make decisions about the course of treatment he needs to pursue.

Physicians at The Urology Group understand how overwhelming this process can be. We work very closely with our prostate cancer patients to help them understand their individual diagnosis, the treatment options best for them, and potential risks of various treatment approaches. Patients often meet with a variety of physicians in our Group to receive different perspectives on their treatment options.

There is a wide range of treatment options for men with prostate cancer, ranging from a wait-and-see approach, to radiation therapy (external beam radiation, or radiation implants called “seeds”), or surgery (today surgery to remove the prostate is usually done laparoscopically with a “robot”).  Determining the course of treatment involves careful evaluation of many factors, including the patient’s age, heath, the stage and aggressiveness of the cancer and, of course, the patient’s preference. Particular attention needs to be given to quality of life considerations important to each patient.

It is very important that men visit their physician for regular prostate cancer screenings.  Men over the age of 50 should receive testing annually. Men in high-risk groups (African Americans or those with a family history of prostate cancer) should be screened beginning at age 45. The prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a blood test that can help indicate the presence of prostate cancer. In fact, the PSA test typically produces a tumor diagnosis six to thirteen years earlier than a diagnosis based on clinical symptoms that occur.  Early detection — combined with a proper course of treatment agreed upon by the physician and patient — has lead to the increased survival rate we are now seeing among men with prostate cancer.

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