Urologic oncology specialists in the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The Lester and Sue Smith Urology Clinic offers a comprehensive array of services that are tailored to address your individual needs. Our top ranked oncologists, surgeons, imaging experts and nurses guide you through the treatment options available to give you the best possible chance for a positive outcome. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, call (713) 798-2262.
What You Need to Know About the Prostate
The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system and exists directly under the bladder, in front of the rectum and is normally about the size of a walnut. Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. In prostate cancer, malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate gland but can spread or metastasize if left untreated or is an aggressive form. Prostate cancer is variable in how it behaves. In most men, the disease grows slowly and men with low-grade, early prostate cancer (confined to the gland) live a long time after their diagnosis and can even be cured with treatment.
Prevention and Risk Factors
Preventative steps can help you reduce your risk of prostate cancer. These include eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Age is the primary risk factor for men. Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men, about six cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older.
Most cases are not symptomatic until it is extensive. If you are experiencing symptoms or are in a high-risk group, it is important that you are checked by a physician.
- Need to urinate more often, day and night*
- Difficulty to start urinating*
- Difficulty to keep urinating once started*
- Blood in the urine*
- Painful urination*
- Ejaculation is painful or less common*
- Achieving or maintaining an erection is difficult*
- Pain in bones – most commonly spine, ribs, pelvic
*These symptoms are more commonly found in other conditions, such as BPH, infections, etc.
Screening and Diagnosis
Two tests are performed when screening for prostate cancer: the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and the DRE (digital rectal exam). The American Cancer Society recommends both tests are performed annually for men age 50 and above. Men at high risk, African-American men and men with a strong family history, should begin their annual tests at age 45. Men who have had multiple relatives with prostate cancer or relatives diagnosed at an early age face the highest risk and should begin their testing at age 40.
If cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be performed, and a pathologist will identify what type of cancer it is and whether it is aggressive. Once the biopsy results are available, the physician will discuss treatment options with the patient and make individual recommendations. Imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan and ultrasound can be used to determine where the cancer is located and guided biopsy determines the extent of the cancer.
Our multidisciplinary team of surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists consult and collaborate to ensure treatment is optimized to meet the patient’s needs. Treatments can include surgery, radiotherapy, ultrasound (HIFU), hormonal therapy and chemotherapy. Patients also have access to National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials.
Our urologic oncologists are experts in the meticulous dissection of the prostate, minimizing blood loss while preserving potency and urinary continence.
- 90 percent of our radical prostatectomy patients lose less than one unit of blood giving them more energy for a speedier recovery and less risk of developing disease-related to transfusion.
- 97 percent of our radical prostatectomy patients maintain bladder control following surgery. This reduces the need for additional procedures to restore continence.
- 80-90 percent of our radical prostatectomy patients under the age of 60 retain both nerves following surgery, nerve preservation allows men to have normal intercourse within 1-4 years following surgery (nerve regeneration continues for up to 4 years post-treatment).
Urologic oncology data shows that when only one nerve can be spared, adding a nerve graft improves potency from a mere 30 percent to 67 percent. Our specialists are pioneers in autologous or collagen unilateral nerve grafting.