If the cancer spreads to the spine, it may press on the spinal nerves. The symptoms of prostate cancer often differ from patient to patient. The most common first sign of recurrent prostate cancer is a rise in the PSA level in the blood, making regular PSA tests all the more important in measuring the progress of treatment and checking for signs of recurrence.
It is important to report new signs or symptoms to your doctor. Learn more about prostate cancer treatment options. Prostate cancer that returns after treatment is considered recurrent. When it returns to the area around the prostate, the disease is classified as a local recurrence. If the cancer is found in another part of the body, the recurrent cancer is considered metastatic. If the cancer metastasizes or spreads outside the prostate, it most likely develops in nearby lymph nodes first.
Metastatic prostate cancer most often spreads to the liver, bones and lungs. After initial treatment for prostate cancer, PSA levels are expected to drop dramatically. The first sign of recurrent prostate cancer may be a rise in the PSA level. Other symptoms of recurrent cancer may depend on whether and where the cancer has spread. Symptoms include:. Talk to your doctor about symptoms you may be experiencing and about scheduling regular PSA tests after your treatment.
Several tests may be used to diagnose prostate cancer. Once a diagnosis is determined, an array of treatment options may be available to treat the disease. Tools and procedures used to diagnose prostate cancer include:. Digital rectal examination DRE : This typically is one of the first tests to determine the presence of prostate cancer. During a DRE, which is often performed as part of a regular physical examination, a doctor feels the prostate for lumps or unusual growths.
Biopsy: During this procedure, a tissue sample is removed and examined for the presence of cancer cells.
Learn more about diagnostic procedures for prostate cancer. In most cases, prostate cancer is diagnosed before the cancer has spread to distant organs or bones. And because prostate cancer cells often grow slowly, many men may not need immediate treatment. In these cases, patients may be candidates for active surveillance. Patients under active surveillance may receive regular PSA tests, biopsies and other exams to determine if the cancer is growing.
Patients with prostate cancer may experience symptoms of the disease or side effects of treatment that may impact their quality of life. Understanding when symptoms are a sign of something serious and either diagnosing the disease or confirming a previous diagnosis require expertise from specialists trained and experienced in treating prostate cancer.
Next topic: What are the types of prostate cancer? The majority of prostate cancers are hormone-sensitive, which means male hormones androgens such as testosterone fuel growth of the cancer. About one-third of prostate cancer patients require hormone therapy also called androgen deprivation , which blocks testosterone production or blocks testosterone from interacting with the tumor cells.
This reduces the tumor size or makes it grow more slowly. While hormone therapy may help control prostate cancer, it does not cure it. Hormone therapy is most often used for late-stage, high-grade tumors Gleason score of 8 or higher or in patients with cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
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However, doctors have different opinions about the length and timing of hormone therapy. Intermittent hormone therapy is a variation of hormone therapy in which drugs are used for a period of time, then stopped and started again. For some men, this approach to prostate cancer causes fewer side effects. The effectiveness of this approach is still being studied, but it appears particularly useful in some situations. They are taken by mouth every day. Anti-androgens are used most often in combination with LHRH agonists see below. Occasionally, anti-androgens are used as an alternative to LHRH agonists if the side effects are excessive for the patient.
After an initial surge, this signals the testicles to suppress testosterone production. Treatments are injections, which last from one to six months, or implants of small pellets just under the skin. LHRH agonists may cause a spike or flare in the testosterone level before treatment takes effect. To offset this effect, anti-androgens may be given for a few weeks before the initial LHRH injection.
The effects of LHRH are usually not permanent, such that testosterone production may resume once the medication is stopped. This removes the organ, which produces testosterone, and is another way to keep testosterone from the prostate cancer. Orchiectomy is an efficient, cost-effective and convenient method of reducing testosterone, and it is an option if you will be treated with testosterone suppression indefinitely.
After this surgery, most men cannot have erections. If you are treated with hormone therapy and have side effects, be sure to mention them to your doctors. Many of these side effects can be treated successfully.
About prostate cancer
We have the expertise to examine each prostate cancer tumor carefully to determine gene-expression profiles. Ongoing research will help us determine the most effective and least invasive treatment targeted to specific cancers. This personalized medicine approach sets us above and beyond most cancer centers and allows us to attack the specific causes of each cancer for the best outcome. Intensive follow-up with X-rays or other imaging procedures is required to ensure that the tumor has been destroyed.
Because prostate cancer usually grows slowly, some men with prostate cancer, especially those who are older or have other health problems, may never be treated for it. Instead, their doctors may recommend active surveillance, an approach also known as "watchful waiting. This approach involves closely monitoring the prostate cancer without active treatment such as surgery or radiation therapy. Prostate biopsy procedures and PSA tests are repeated at set intervals, and treatment may be recommended if the tumor shows an increase in the volume or the grade Gleason score.
After treatment for prostate cancer, you may have side effects. These depend the therapy you received and may involve:. Talk to your doctor about any side effects you have. Treatments are available to help with most of them. Impotence, or not being able to maintain an erection to have sex, may be a problem after prostate cancer treatment. This may be temporary or permanent.
If you are able to get an erection, you may be able to achieve orgasm. However, no semen will be ejaculated during orgasm. Some people call this dry orgasm. Talk to your health care provider about erection problems. Learn more about sexuality and cancer.
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Surgery to treat prostate cancer usually requires cutting the tubes between the testicles and urethra that transport the sperm and semen. Furthermore, surgery removes the prostate and seminal vesicles that produce the semen. Radiation significantly decreases the amount of semen that is produced, and semen is necessary to carry the sperm.
This makes it impossible to father children without highly sophisticated sperm retrieval and in-vitro fertilization procedures. If you want to have children in the future, it may be a good idea to bank sperm before cancer treatment. Speak to your doctor if you want more information or have questions. This specialized group communicates and collaborates closely — with you and each other — to be sure you receive the most advanced prostate cancer treatment with the least impact on your body.
Your team includes medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, as well as a specially trained support staff. They work with the latest technology and techniques like hormone therapy, proton therapy and brachytherapy. We're studying new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat prostate cancers to give patients the most-advanced treatments with the least impact on the body. None of us really knew what to expect, but MD Anderson has been incredible, from the second my parents walked through its doors.
As an executive at an oil and gas service company, Andy Moriarty often shares safety messages with his employees. Lately, these messages have become a lot more personal and health-centered. So, when my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago, our family was devastated.
Bryan Bump knows the importance of annual physicals. Even after he underwent prostate cancer surgery in March , the avid runner competed in the Boston Marathon one month later. MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else. My Chart. Donate Today. For Physicians. Cancer Moonshots. We're here for you. Call us at or request an appointment online.
Let's get started. Request an appointment online. Jump To:. Get details about our clinical trials that are currently enrolling patients. View Clinical Trials. Prostate Cancer Types Almost all prostate cancers begin in the gland cells of the prostate and are known as adenocarcinomas. Prostate Cancer Risk Factors Anything that increases your chance of getting prostate cancer is a risk factor. These include: Age: This is the most important risk factor.
Most men who develop prostate cancer are older than About two of every three prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than Family history: Risk is higher when other members of your family especially father, brother, son have or had prostate cancer, especially if they were young when they developed it. Race: African-American men have nearly double the risk of prostate cancer as white men. Diet: A high-fat diet, particularly a diet high in animal fats, may increase risk; diets high in fruits and vegetables may decrease risk. Nationality: Prostate cancer is more prevalent in North America and northwestern Europe than other parts of the world.
Sexually transmitted diseases STDs are being investigated as possible risk factors as well. Prostate Cancer Prevention Certain actions may help lower your risk of prostate cancer: Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and eat less red meat. Decrease fat intake. Tell your doctor about supplements you take. Some of these may decrease the PSA level. A recent large study found that selenium and vitamin E, once thought to decrease risk of prostate cancer, have no effect. Exercise regularly Maintain your ideal weight Other ways to prevent prostate cancer are being investigated.
These include: Lycopenes : These substances found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon may help prevent damage to cells. Research shows that many cancers can be prevented. Radiation oncologist Deborah Kuban, M. Prostate Cancer Symptoms Prostate cancer often shows no symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms of prostate cancer may include: Painful or burning urination Inability to urinate or difficulty in starting to urinate Difficulty trying to hold back urination Weak or interrupted urine flow Frequent or urgent need to urinate Trouble emptying the bladder completely Blood in the urine or semen Continual pain in the lower back, pelvis, hips or thighs Difficulty having an erection Having any of these symptoms does not mean you have prostate cancer.
Did You Know? Prostate Cancer Diagnosis If you have symptoms that may signal prostate cancer, your doctor will ask you questions about your health, your lifestyle and your family medical history. Sometimes prostate cancer does not produce much PSA and higher levels can be caused by factors other than cancer, including: Enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH , which is found often in older men Age: PSA levels normally go up slowly as men age Prostate infection or inflammation, which also is called prostatitis PSA may rise briefly after ejaculation, then return to normal levels On the other hand, certain conditions may make PSA levels low, even when a man has prostate cancer.
These include: Some drugs used to treat BPH or other conditions Certain herbal medicines or supplements Obesity Despite its limitations, PSA testing has helped detect prostate cancer in countless men. For instance, it may: Help doctors plan your treatment or further testing Determine if cancer has metastasized spread beyond the prostate Find out if treatment is working or cancer has returned Aid in active surveillance also called watchful waiting by showing if cancer is growing Biopsy If your doctor suspects prostate cancer, a biopsy may be performed.
Prostate Cancer Treatments If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including: Your age and general health Stage and grade of cancer Whether the cancer has spread Side effects of treatment Your treatment for prostate cancer will be customized to your particular needs. Studies show robotic-assisted surgery may result in: Less blood loss Shorter hospital stays Less urinary tract scarring Fewer complications However, the techniques are fairly equal in retaining urinary and sexual function and controlling cancer.
Hormone Therapy The majority of prostate cancers are hormone-sensitive, which means male hormones androgens such as testosterone fuel growth of the cancer. Hormone therapy may be used to treat prostate cancer if: Surgery or radiation is not possible Cancer has metastasized spread or recurred come back after treatment Cancer is at high risk of returning after radiation Shrinking the cancer before surgery or radiation increases the chance for successful treatment Intermittent hormone therapy is a variation of hormone therapy in which drugs are used for a period of time, then stopped and started again.
Gene Therapy We have the expertise to examine each prostate cancer tumor carefully to determine gene-expression profiles. Vaccine Therapy These agents help the body fight the cancer on a molecular basis. Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is used to treat the small-cell variant of prostate cancer.
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Active Surveillance or Watchful Waiting Because prostate cancer usually grows slowly, some men with prostate cancer, especially those who are older or have other health problems, may never be treated for it. Side Effects of Treatment After treatment for prostate cancer, you may have side effects. These depend the therapy you received and may involve: The urinary tract the bladder and the urethra The bowels, particularly the rectum Impotence and sexual function Talk to your doctor about any side effects you have.
Sexuality after Prostate Cancer Impotence, or not being able to maintain an erection to have sex, may be a problem after prostate cancer treatment. Fertility after Prostate Cancer Surgery to treat prostate cancer usually requires cutting the tubes between the testicles and urethra that transport the sperm and semen. Why choose MD Anderson for your prostate cancer treatment? Genitourinary Center Proton Therapy Center.
Prostate cancer survivor promotes screening exams As an executive at an oil and gas service company, Andy Moriarty often shares safety messages with his employees. Read Andy's story. Read more from Collin. Prostate cancer survivor spreads cheer Bryan Bump knows the importance of annual physicals. Read Bryan's story. Learn more about John.
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