Diagnosis and Treatment

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.

The most common way to check for prostate cancer is to have a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Prostate- specific antigen is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. A higher level of PSA could mean that you have prostate cancer. If your PSA is high, or if your doctor finds anything during the rectal exam, he or she may do a biopsy to figure out the cause. A biopsy means your doctor takes a sample of tissue from your prostate gland and sends it to a lab for testing.

You and your doctor may decide to treat your cancer with surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, or a combination. As part of your treatment in the Multidisciplinary Urologic Oncology Clinic, patients have their cases reviewed weekly by nationally recognized experts in urologic oncology -- urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists -- who are supported by a specially trained nursing and physician- assistant staff with specific expertise in urologic oncology. Together, this team puts together patient specific treatment plans.

The Clinic provides patients:

  • Access to state-of-the-art therapies
  • Robust clinical trials for all stages
  • The Multidisciplinary Urologic Oncology Conference, where specialists discuss patients' cases and create individualized treatment plans
  • Reports to the patient's primary care physician and/or referring physician promptly following each visit
  • Comprehensive patient education materials
  • An opportunity to meet with a health educator or dietitian to discuss concerns or special needs
  • Access to support groups and alternative/complementary therapy programs


There are many variables that are taken into consideration when your treatment plan is devised and discussed in the weekly conference such as other health risks, the level of your disease and past health history. Main treatment options may include one or more of the following:

  • Radical prostatectomy
    Robotic prostatectomy is becoming a sought after surgical option. The minimally invasive procedure is performed with the assistance of da Vinici® surgical robot, and duplicates the standard surgery to remove the prostate gland but with smaller incisions. The goal of this procedure is to excise the cancer completely, provide good urinary continence post-operatively and maintain ability to have erections after the surgery.

    Our robotic surgery team is made up of 5 urologic oncologists and 1 urologist, all specializing in robotic surgery and performs hundreds of prostatectomies each year.

    Robotic surgery uses slender telescope-like instruments placed through small incisions as opposed to a large incision that is typical in an open surgery. The surgeon controls the robot from a console next to the patient where the operating field can be viewed in three dimensions. This type of technology, which acts as an extension of the surgeons hands, allowing for more accurate surgery with better outcomes, less pain, less risk of wound infection, less blood loss, less scarring and faster recovery time.
  • Radiation therapy [Radiation Oncology]
    Treatment plans can include intensity modulated radiation therapy and brachytherapy (seeds).
  • Hormone therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Chemotherapy

Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.

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